Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Cheshvan 5763 - October 9, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network











Response to Amnesty International's Report
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Last week the well-known organization Amnesty International published a report entitled "Killing the Future: Children in the Line of Fire." Dealing with such a sensitive subject, the report drew a lot of attention.

The report tried to be "even-handed" by including criticism of both Israel and the Palestinians for killing children. While it is a fact that children have been killed by both sides, the report does not note the context.

The IDF, which killed most of the Palestinian children, issued a detailed response, pointing out that its activities are conducted under strict limits and controls that conform to international law and moral standards, and never target non-combatants. Palestinian terror activity, on the other hand, does target noncombatants and is conducted from bases within civilian areas that make them responsible for innocent casualties, according to international law.

The IDF response is as follows:

For the past two years ,the IDF has been engaged in difficult and intensive fighting against Palestinian terrorist factions. During this period of fighting, which was imposed upon the State of Israel and the IDF, Palestinian terrorist factions perpetrated over 14,500 terror attacks, claiming the lives of 624 Israelis.

All IDF operations adhere to international humanitarian law, in strict compliance with the highest moral and legal standards. In glaring contrast, Palestinian terrorist factions defy all norms, be they moral or legal, deliberately attacking civilians only because they are Israeli, as described at length in the report. Amnesty International has labeled the Palestinian suicide attacks as crimes against humanity.

As part of its adherence to the rules of the conduct of war, the IDF goes to great lengths to avoid harming civilians, especially children. This concern is an integral part of soldier training, of the regulations governing when to open fire, of orders issued by commanders, of operational plans, and of the message conveyed by the highest-ranking officers.

Regrettably, some civilians, including children, have been injured during the fighting against the Palestinian terrorist groups. In no case were these injuries intentional. Those hurt were either individuals involved in Palestinian terrorist activity, or civilians who were unintentionally hurt when they entered a live-fire zone.

The Palestinian terrorists are solely and unequivocally responsible for the injuries caused to Palestinian children. Since the beginning of the conflict two years ago, the Palestinian terrorist factions have cynically exploited children in terrorist activity, in violation of international law. Children are groomed and dispatched to carry out suicide attacks in the centers of the Israeli civilian population; positioned at the front lines of demonstrations to hide snipers behind them; and used to plant explosives and deliver weapons. Moreover, the terrorist factions have transformed Palestinian civilian population centers into terrorist activity headquarters.

One must keep in mind that the Palestinian society and several international organizations have denounced the abuse of children by Palestinian terrorist factions. It must be mentioned that the Palestinians publicly acknowledged that terrorist organizations paid Rafah Palestinian children 5 NIS (roughly equal to $1 each) to thrust explosive charges towards IDF soldiers. Forty of those children were injured and became amputees (Al- Rai newspaper, 20 June 2002). Unfortunately, the UN report does not mention this particularly abominable Palestinian practice. Those who use children to perpetrate terror attacks and those who use houses where children reside to coordinate and perpetrate attacks are responsible for these childrens' injuries.

Authors of the Amnesty report compare IDF operations in which Palestinian children were killed to Palestinian terror attacks in which Israeli children were killed. This comparison is unjustified and baseless. Palestinian terror attacks, especially suicide bombings, are designed to cause the death of Israeli civilians, including children. This is ruthless, unprecedented, inhuman terror. On the other hand, IDF activity is conducted in accordance with the laws of war and is not aimed at injuring civilians. Injuries are occasionally sustained only because Palestinian terrorists act from within Palestinian civilian population centers. Hence, equating the two sides is baseless, and indicates a fundamental lack of fairness amongst authors of the report.

The authors falsely claim the IDF does not investigate incidents in which Palestinian children are injured, and grants immunity to the soldiers involved. The fact is that IDF commanders do investigate incidents in which Palestinian civilians were injured. When suspicion of criminal misbehavior by soldiers arises, the Military Police launches an inquiry. Since September 2000, the beginning of operation Ebb and Flow, over 220 inquiries have been launched by the Military Police, including incidents in which Palestinian minors were injured.

The claims that incidents are not investigated and soldiers enjoy immunity are false. The fact that the IDF investigates and establishes commissions of inquiry, even while in the midst of intense fighting, is part of its identity as a professional army.

The IDF is dedicated to upholding "purity of arms" and preserving human dignity, and regrets any injuries to innocent children. The IDF emphasizes that the cynical use of Palestinian children by Palestinian terrorist factions is the main cause of their injuries.


All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.