It was reported that the IDF revised the rules of engagement that instructed snipers to aim for the lower body when shooting at Gazans threatening the security fence. The snipers are now required to aim at the ankles but ‘humanitarian’ groups say that is not good enough.
In March 2018, Hamas began organizing weekly demonstrations along Israel’s southern border called “March of Return” in which the Gazans challenged the border in an attempt to “return” to their homes in Israel. Labeled by the left-wing as “peaceful protests”, thousands, sometimes even tens-of-thousands Gazans gather along the security fence separating Israel from Gaza, throwing rocks or using deadly slings, burning tires, throwing improvised explosive devices, or setting IED’s on the fence. IDF soldiers have been fired upon and one soldier was killed by a highly-specialized weapon that is effective against the ceramic armor worn by the soldiers. Countless attempts to infiltrate into Israel were stopped but a few succeeded. Thousands of acres of land in southern Israel were burned by aerial incendiary devices which included balloons, kites, and drones. There have also been sporadic attacks from Gaza. Hamas has reported at least 200 Gazans killed by IDF sniper fire with a significant percentage of the casualties being identified by Hamas as members of their military wing.
In response to the “protests”, the IDF stationed troops along the border, instructing snipers as a last resort to aim at the lower body of any person that endangered the security fence. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, stated in December that shooting at the lower body was an act of restraint.
“Sniper rifles against hundreds or thousands of rioters that are violently trying to get into Israel with the open aim of killing Israeli civilians or abducting Israeli soldiers, I don’t think that’s disproportionate,” he said. “I don’t think it’s disproportionate to shoot at feet or legs to get them to stop, rather than killing them.”
The JPost reported on Thursday that IDF revised its orders. Despite most of the wounds inflicted upon Gazans at the security fence being in the legs, the IDF concluded that “firing at the lower half of the body above the knee led to the deaths of many people, even though this was not our objective.”
According to the JPost report, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), reported 29,187 Palestinians injured as of March, with 7,246 injured by live ammunition and 773 injured by rubber bullets.
Another 12,442 Palestinians were injured by gas inhalation and 8,449 by other means. OCHA documentation also found that the large majority of those injured were adult men (21,433), followed by 5,333 male youths, 1,699 women and 445 girls. A January report by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) stated that nearly 90% of those injured by Israeli fire suffered injuries to their lower limbs.
B’Tselem, a non-governmental agency (NGO)whose humanitarian agenda is used exclusively for anti-Israel measures, criticized the new shoot-at-the-ankles policy.
“[This new policy] in no way suggests that the military attaches great value to human life,” B’Tselem said in a statement on Wednesday. “On the contrary, it shows that the military consciously chose not to regard those standing on the other side of the fence as humans. In its naivety, the High Court of Justice approved this practice. Both the military and the court bear the responsibility for this criminal policy.”
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire is reportedly in place, calling for Hmas to cease hostilities along the border. Though the protests continue along with sporadic violence and the aerial incendiary devices, the intensity of the violence is somewhat abated.
Editorial Comment: It is regrettable that the ‘humanitarian’ organizations do not call for a policy that would immediately and absolutely put an end to the casualties at the southern border. If Hamas were given an ultimatum to cease all hostilities along the border and to prevent Gazans from approaching the fence, then the IDF snipers would have no reason to shoot. By failing to do so, these NGO’s are prolonging the suffering of the Gazans and pursuing a racist policy that endangers the life of every Jew on the planet. I suspect this is undesirable to them, that their true motive has little do with any humanitarian desire to end Palestinian suffering and much more to do with continuing to attack Israel no matter how many Palestinians have to die.