UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Tuesday, February 18 2014:
*It has been a day of violence on Israel’s northeastern and southern borders with mortars from Syria exploding on the Israeli Golan Heights and multiple IEDs being discovered along the Gaza border fence.
COGAT: The IDF unit responsible for “Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories”
The ongoing, disastrous attempt of the IDF COGAT unit to be politically correct has been illustrated yet again this morning. Just like in the south where IDF soldiers have been put at risk by COGAT which allows materials into Gaza which can be used to build weapons, we now have IDF soldiers in Judea and Samaria being put at risk by a new COGAT IDF pilot program which would end night arrests (in fact all arrests) of suspected Palestinian terrorists.
The new program is pathetically in response to an absurd 2013 UNICEF report which accused Israel of “torturing” Palestinian “minors” suspected of terrorist activities (primarily 17 and 18 year old young men) by doing such things as speaking to them in Hebrew and bringing them into court in handcuffs. A recent Australian television program picked up on the UNICEF theme and further accused IDF forces of abusing Palestinians by arresting them at night.
The comments yesterday describing this new program by the head IDF prosecutor in Judea and Samaria Lt. Col. Maurice Hirsch yesterday (as reported in the Jerusalem Post) ranged from ridiculous to the absurd.
Paradoxically, to justify the new program of no night arrests, Hirsch began by explaining that night arrests are preferable in order “to prevent wide-scale demonstrations and danger to both sides.” He then went on to give the example of the Kalandiya incident in which an attempted day-time arrest of a “terrorist minor” resulted in “wide-scale protests, gun fights and greater danger to both Palestinians and Israeli security forces.”
In other words, night-time arrests of suspected terrorists protect IDF soldiers and Palestinians.
But never mind.
The new program that Hirsch calls for suspected terrorists to be issued a summons to appear in court. Yes, you heard that correctly. A summons. No more night-time or day-time arrests.
A summons process that by the way has been tried several times before over the last few decades. Unsuccessfully. And what a surprise–can you imagine, dear reader, that suspected terrorists would not voluntarily appear in court?
But according to Hirsch, the current COGAT IDF leadership has determined that there are insufficient statistics from the past to determine how many suspects turned up when summoned and how many did not. The obvious answer is that virtually none of them showed up because the summons process was discontinued.
But hope springs eternal in the surreal world of the IDF COGAT leadership. As Hirsch said: “we approach this [pilot program] with an open mind, we are going to try to make it work.”
More IDF soldiers will be attacked when summons are not answered and day-time arrests must eventually be made and more IDF soldiers will be killed, (not to mention Israeli civilians who are put at greater risk because of terrorists on the loose) and all for what? According to Hirsch, the entire point of the new program is to “neutralize” the complaints of international organizations. In other words, the point is to be politically correct.
And if IDF soldiers and civilians are killed in the process, who cares? COGAT would have us believe that is just the price Israel has to pay for international approval.