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IDF: No Change in Open-Fire Orders

Despite taped incidents showing IDF weakness, army says "there were no changes in the rules of engagement."
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 12/20/2012, 7:55 PM

Attempted car jacking in Hevron Hills
Attempted car jacking in Hevron Hills
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A senior official in the Judea and Samaria Division stated Tuesday that despite recent events in the area, "there were no changes in the rules of engagement in the region. The rules are clear and known to every soldier, battalion, and brigade commander, who provide the appropriate response to every scenario where a response is required."

According to the IDF Website, the official was referring several incidents in recent weeks, including video of soldiers near the village of Kadum, events in Hevron, and other disturbances "which caused some to propose that the rules of engagement are not clear, impacting the soldiers' actions."

The videos from the events show IDF soldiers appearing to run away from confrontation, or being mobbed by Arabs and failing to react forcefully.  

The official noted that "last March we approved the rules of engagement, and distributed them down to each deputy company commander, clarifying what is and what is not considered life threatening."

"It is important to note that in any event, the rules of engagement require consideration and judgment. Eventually, a soldier should assess whether or not his life is in danger. Only after making that decision should a soldier open fire or begin the procedure for halting suspicious suspects," said the official.

He added that all instructions are based on "the purity of arms," the principles by which IDF soldiers are trained to use their weapons.

Likewise, the official noted, "In an incident where there is no need to fire, we do not shoot. The purpose of the IDF's policy of restraint is to contain incidents and avoid casualties."