Daily Israel Report

IDF Ethicist: War Crimes Claims are Nonsense

Prof. Asa Kasher, who wrote IDF's code of ethics, says no country can accept legal limitations that would place it at a military disadvantage.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/8/2010, 1:26 PM

Flash 90

Israel Prize Laureate Professor Asa Kasher, who formulated the Israel Defense Force's Code of Ethics, has dismissed the claims that the IDF committed war crimes in the 2009 Cast Lead campaign against Hamas.

“There is no army in the world that will endanger its soldiers in order to avoid hitting the warned neighbors of an enemy or terrorist,” Kasher told the Institute for Contemporary Affairs in Jerusalem. “Israel should favor the lives of its own soldiers over the lives of the well-warned neighbors of a terrorist when it is operating in a territory that it does not effectively control, because in such territories it does not bear the moral responsibility for properly separating between dangerous individuals and harmless ones.”

“Compare the Gaza operation to the U.S. Marine operation in Fallujah, Iraq, in late 2004,” Kasher said. “During the operation, about 6,000 Iraqis including 1,200-2,000 insurgents were killed. Of the city's 50,000 buildings, some 10,000 were destroyed, including 60 mosques. Thus, the U.S. left a trail of destruction in Fallujah far greater than anything Israel inflicted on Gaza.”

The full text of 'A Moral Evaluation of Cast Lead' by Prof. Kasher appears in the Opinion section, in two parts.

Part One.

Part Two.