"When you go out to war against your enemies...." (Ki Tetzei, Deuteronomy 21:10) Upon which verse the Sifri comments (Shoftim 192): "Against your enemies and not your brothers.... Against your enemies you are going out, for if you fall into their hands, they will have no mercy on you."
"He who is merciful to the cruel will end up being cruel to the merciful." - Kohelet Rabbah, 7:16
It has now been confirmed. The Israel Defense Forces - at least the general in charge of the air force - cares more about preserving the life of the son of an Arab terrorist than about protecting my son or the sons of the good people of Sderot, Netivot and Ashkelon.
In an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Commander in Chief of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Eliezer Shkedy, said
...the Kassam crews were becoming increasingly "cynical," surrounding themselves with civilians in the knowledge that this would gain them immunity from IDF fire.
"They 'cloak' themselves in women and children and families. There can be a situation where for days we know a terrorist is in a certain place and we don't attack him... We feel that he's in a place that could be problematic. There are at least 10 operations we don't carry out for every one that we do," he said.
"If we know that [the terrorist] is holding his son's hand, we do not fire. Even if the terrorist is in the midst of firing a Kassam. We do not fire."
Not only is this a gross violation of trust for a military assigned to protect Israelis, not Arabs. Not only does this contradict the purpose of the IDF altogether. Not only is this counter to the Geneva Conventions, which charge the attacker with the responsibility for deaths caused by his hiding behind women's skirts and children's playthings. Not only is this counter to Jewish law and morality.
But this is also supremely stupid to "boast" about.
How can Gen. Shkedy question the fact that the terrorists are becoming increasingly "cynical" by surrounding themselves with non-combatants, when he himself has explicitly confirmed the wisdom of the strategic assumption they make when they do so? The terrorists know that the best armor they've got is an Arab woman or child.
Gen. Shkedy has given the enemy all the information needed to continue to attack Israelis with near impunity.
Saddest of all, Gen. Shkedy has informed the Arabs, the international community and - perhaps worst of all - the Jews, that the children of Arab terrorists are more precious to IAF commanders than the children of Sderot and Ashkelon.
What does it mean when he says that the IAF would not fire at an Arab attacker, "even if the terrorist is in the midst of firing a Kassam," so long as the terrorist equips himself with an Arab child? It means that Kassam may land in Sderot or Netiv Ha'asara or Ashkelon, possibly killing an Israeli civilian. Maybe a child, as in the case of four-year-old Afik Zahavi, who was killed by a Kassam rocket on the way to kindergarten in 2004.
What do the children of Sderot have to do to get Gen. Shkedy to agree to do his job? Whose hand do they have to hold?