IDF trains officers to better avoid civilian casualties

Friday, December 24, 2010 |  Ryan Jones

In a move further proving that the Israeli army might be the most humane on earth, officers in the newly formed “Population Coordination” unit have wrapped up a week of initial training aimed at minimizing civilian casualties in conflicts with Muslim terrorist forces.

Officers belonging to the new unit will be integrated with all ground force battalions to help field commanders better plan assaults on terrorist forces hiding among civilian populations.

The decision to form the unit came in the aftermath of the 2008-2009 Gaza War, which led to the UN-sanctioned Goldstone Commission after the Palestinians accused Israel of committing war crimes in its assault on the Hamas terrorist infrastructure.

Israel launched the offensive in response to incessant Hamas rocket fire on southern Israel. Despite careful and often costly measures on Israel’s part to minimize civilian casualties, many Palestinians died during the conflict due to the fact that Hamas forces used the local population as a human shield.

That is a recurring theme in Israel’s recent wars. During the Second Lebanon War in 2006 Hizballah also hid its forces among the civilian population of southern Lebanon, leading to many civilian deaths.

While international law permits targeting hostile enemy force even if they are hiding among civilian populations, the international community often ignores those terms when it comes to Israel, and insists the Jewish state not target its enemies when they use human shields, which they always do.

The new Populations Coordination unit will likely help ground forces more carefully pinpoint target their objectives, there is concern that it will also further erode the Israeli army’s ability to surprise or catch enemy forces off guard, thereby increasing the risk to the Israeli soldiers involved.

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