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December 13, 2012 6:49 pm

IDF Clarifies: Soldiers ‘Exercise Discretion,’ But Act on an ‘Imminent Threat’

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IDF reservists. Photo: wiki commons.

Following recent incidents involving the fleeing of Israel Defense Forces soldiers from Palestinian rioters, highlighting the complex challenge Israeli soldiers face in potentially hostile and volatile environments, the IDF has issued clarifications regarding its rules of engagement.

According to Yedioth Ahronoth, which obtained a copy of the new directives document, the IDF stated that while the new directives stressed the need for caution and discretion, they also clearly stated that soldiers are allowed to open fire in the event of an “imminent threat.”

More specifically, the document highlighted several scenarios such as when soldiers encounter stone throwing, Molotov cocktails, gunfire and vehicular attacks, and the clear appropriate response to each.

A senior IDF official told Yedioth Ahronoth that the IDF remains committed to using maximum restraint in order to prevent escalation.

“So far the containment and restrain policy has proven itself as preventing incidents from escalating. These orders all derive from battle ethics,” he said.

“We must exercise discretion and keep live fire as the last resort. We don’t want to shoot indiscriminately and harm innocent people and if something like that happens we immediately offer assistance.”

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  • Sonia Willats

    Nevertheless, when a gun is pointed at a soldier in Israel, and they act to defend themselves THEY MUST NOT BE CONDEMNED. The fault and cause is on the side of the person holding the gun. Also if soldiers are increasing forced to flee difficult situations it will give opportunity for another Gilad Shallit kidnap. We must protect the soldiers who protect citizens and not make them victims.