Here’s what the depressing reality looks like when you stop fighting wars and focus on avoiding civilian casualties while the other side uses them as human shields.
Testimony that is reaching us from fighter pilots who provide close air assistance to the combat soldiers who are currently fighting in the field,” Channel 2’s military correspondent Nir Dvori reported, “about growing frustration over the fact that they hear the forces below them on the ground asking for cover and close air support when they see the terrorists drawing near from short range, firing at them, and there is no approval, because of various limitations, so as not to hit innocent civilians, and out of concern not to hit uninvolved people, and for this reason they cannot always give covering fire, cannot always fire, and so the frustration is that to some extent, they are leaving the fighters on their own to fight on the ground…”
Ynet’s veteran defense analyst Ron Ben Yishai reported that one of the reasons that Hamas was prepared to face Israeli ground troops in the Shejaiya neighborhood, where IDF suffered 13 killed in one day of fighting, is that the residents were given ample advance notice of the IDF’s intent to enter the neighborhood.
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz took pride in the fact that the IDF takes such care to notify residents of its attack plans. “We cannot agree for Hamas to place civilians in our path,” he said earlier this week. “So what we have done is to warn the civilians over and over again to evacuate. There are no armies like this, which drop leaflets, call on the phone, bomb next to the target or carry out a ‘knock on the roof,’ and even disperse the residents with smoke.”
This is a familiar disaster from the rules of engagement that cost a lot of American lives in Afghanistan. Without air support and with painstaking attempts at avoiding civilian casualties, the enemy is motivated to operate around civilians to cut off air support and artillery.
And the civilian casualties pile up anyway because when engagements take place more often around civilians, they are more likely to be killed.
In Afghanistan, the number of Afghan civilians killed by NATO forces dropped sharply, but the number killed by the Taliban increased dramatically. This is all that Israel is going to accomplish, except that the Gazan Muslims killed by Hamas will be “credited” to Israel anyway.