Business Insider: Israel raises moral warfare standards

Protective Edge air strikes

The ratio between IDF air attacks in Gaza and civilian fatalities is very low.

Israel is likely to raise the moral standards of war, claims Will Saletan in an article published in "Business Insider." He analyzed the military measures in the conflict between Israel and the terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, and concluded that Israel had taken a number of steps, such as warning Gaza residents before a bomb raid, that were likely to raise the moral level of the rules of warfare.

Saletan first states that his goal is to outline the moral rules of warfare, and that it does not matter whether a person loves or hates Israel. Beyond that, Saletan does not discuss Hamas's behavior in this article, saying, "Hamas rejects the whole idea that it’s wrong to target civilians. So behaving better than Hamas isn’t a standard worth talking about."

He analyzes the IDF attacks thus far in Gaza, and states that the number of civilians killed is high, but that this is because Hamas officers have gone underground, and because the IDF is attacking mainly buildings and weapons arsenals, not people.

Saletan alleges, however, that the number of casualties is low, compared with the air attacks carried out by the IDF. He compares Operation Protective Edge to other limited wars, and finds that the number of those injured in air attacks in the other wars was much higher. For example, Israel has bombed 1,100 targets in Gaza in Operation Protective Edge, with an average of one civilian killed per 14-15 attacks. In the war in Kosovo, 500 civilians were killed in 900 air attacks by NATO forces, i.e. more than one fatality per every two attacks. The rate of air attacks to civilian fatalities was also higher in the US invasion of Iraq, in which 3,500 civilians were killed.

According to Saletan, the IDF is attacking civilian houses, which is against international law, but it warns the residents a number of times before the attack by sending text messages or contacting them directly: "In the history of warfare, this kind of systematic warning - direct, specific, double-layered - is unprecedented. "

In addition, IDF warnings have been documented in certain cases, and even the civilians in Gaza admit in a number of instances that they were warned by the IDF. The IDF asserts that the number of casualties rose mainly because Hamas orders civilians not to leave their homes in order to use them as a human shield. "In some ways, Israel is raising the standards of what can be expected in warfare," Saletan wrote.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 13, 2014

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2014

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Protective Edge air strikes
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