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Gaza War, Day 25: Ceasefire Unravels, Hamas Says IDF Killed Israeli Soldier After He Was Captured

idf hadar goldin

IDF 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin, seriously wounded and possibly captured by Gaza fighters despite invoking Hannibal Directive to kill him

The small modicum of hope I had for yesterday’s ceasefire collapsed only an hour after it began yesterday.  As I reported, shortly after the 72-hour truce began, IDF heavy artillery began smothering Rafah with deadly fire that had killed 8 Palestinians at the time I finished my post.

Today brings news explaining the reason the ceasefire broke down.  A Palestinian militant cell ambushed an IDF patrol of Givati brigade soldiers.  One of the militants had a suicide vest and blew himself up, killing Maj. Benaya Sarel and Sgt. Liel Gidoni.  Three other Israelis were seriously wounded.  One of them, Second Lt. Hadar Goldin was dragged away by the fighters.  But the Israelis who were unscathed in the attack invoked Hannibal and returned fire, shooting both Goldin and the militant who was dragging him away.  It was a clear attempt not just to frustrate the Hamas operation and the capture, but to actually kill the Israeli soldier.

Once news of the attack arrived at the IDF High Command, they began massive shelling of Rafah, attempting to kill him.  Israel’s Channel 10 news reported:

The IDF is bombing every vehicle approaching Abu Yousuf Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah.

My Israeli source goes farther and says that the massive Israeli air and artillery assault on Rafah was in revenge for the attack.  60 Palestinians were killed in the barrage.

According to Hamas’ military wing, which conducted the attack, the members of the unit which ambushed the IDF were killed afterward along with Goldin:

We lost contact with the group of fighters that were stationed at that location and we believe that all members of the unit were martyred and the soldier the enemy says went missing was killed in the Zionist shelling, assuming that the fighters did capture him during the confrontation.

We in Qassam have no knowledge up to this moment about the missing soldier, nor his whereabouts nor the circumstances of his disappearance.

In other words, the IDF killed its own soldier.

Though IDF ethicist Asa Kasher and others have argued here that Hannibal does not call for the killing of the captured soldier, it’s clear in this instance, in which Goldin was long gone and there was no hope of rescuing him, that the IDF’s goal was to kill him; thus neutralizing any benefit Hamas might derive from holding an IDF soldier.  I want to state this very clearly: Hannibal not only condones murder, it calls for it.  Now, Israelis may argue that this if this is an act of murder or deliberate killing, that it only will happen in desperate, extenuating circumstances that are viewed by Israelis as endangering state security.  To which I reply: nonsense.  While there may be reasons explaining why the IDF would deliberately kill its own soldiers, no other western military would do such a thing.

Israel has gone from a country that never leaves a soldier behind; to a country that kills any soldier it can’t save.  This is the mark of a state that, if it ever behaved according to humanist values, has become a brutalist state.

The circumstances of the attack in which Hamas was defending Gaza from attacks by the IDF confirms my own criticism of the ceasefire that was announced.  A ceasefire means both sides stop military operations against the other.  Any IDF activity inside Gaza is offensive.  No ceasefire I’ve ever heard of gives one side the opportunity to continue targeting the other.

After the attack, Netanyahu angrily denounced U.S. pressure in favor of a ceasefire telling the U.S. ambassador that the U.S. should “never second guess him again.”  All this means Israel will attempt to ratchet up the pressure on Gaza and Hamas.  Israeli troops will sink further into the quicksand of this military adventure.  More Israeli boys will die.  It goes without saying that the Palestinian death toll, now over 1,600, will soon hit the 2,000 mark.  One wonders whether there’s a certain number beyond which the world will begin taking notice and action.

Maj. Benaya Sarel was listed as #33 on the Operation Cast Lead criminal list.

 

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{ 27 comments… add one }
  • Anyone got a ruler? August 1, 2014, 11:15 PM

    Richard, the distance from Rafah to Egypt is but a stone’s throw, but Rafah to Kerem Shalom is 3.5km.

    That’s one mighty long tunnel………

    • Richard Silverstein August 2, 2014, 2:40 AM

      Thanks for pointing out my error which I corrected some time ago. The attack was inside Rafah (& Gaza). Not inside Israel.

  • The Money Shot August 1, 2014, 11:22 PM

    For those who are too dim to understand, Richard is correct to point out this quote from Channel 10: “The IDF is bombing every vehicle approaching Abu Yousuf Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah.”

    Pretty obvious that the IDF was of the opinion that Goldin was wounded, and so they would conclude that his captors would rush him to the nearest hospital.

    So if they took out every vehicle heading towards that hospital….. well….. gosh… that only makes sense if the IDF was trying very, very hard to kill Goldin.

  • Yossi August 1, 2014, 11:35 PM

    I understand that after the soldier was captured the area was covered with heavy artillery fire and bombed according to the Hanibaal procedure. Hamas retracting his early claim of taking him a prisoner was due to the procedure success. Since the death is not officially confirmed Israel uses it, like in the case of the three boys, as a blanket permit to arrest and kill anyone considered a suspect.

    The 72-hours ceasefire was actually one-sided. There is little doubt Israel interpreted the clause allowing it to continue destroying tunnels as a blanket permit to break into buildings and use explosives. In a case of resistance it could invoke the defensive operations clause and shoot everyone in the area.

    This is not a European style war but more like a colonial army suppressing a revolt using gun boats against bows and arrows of the natives.

  • Stretch August 1, 2014, 11:36 PM

    Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It hasn’t become a brutalist state, it was one from the very start.

  • Yossi August 2, 2014, 12:06 AM

    The Israeli leadership is guided by the famous Three No’s: “no peace with Palestine, no recognition of Palestine, no negotiations with it”. In order to prevent negotiation it’s willing to kill its own soldiers.

  • Stretch August 2, 2014, 12:36 AM

    Or go back to 1924 for the murder of Jacob Israel de Haan.

    • Oui August 2, 2014, 12:46 AM

      Neturei Karta (Aramaic: “Guardians of the City”)

      “Zionism is the greatest form of spiritual impurity They have polluted the Jewish people with their heresy.” -Rabbi Yoel Teitelbaum

      Naturei Karta is a group of Orthodox Jews which rejects Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel. They believe that the true Israel can only be reestablished with the coming of the Messiah. They number some 5,000 and are concentrated in Jerusalem. Other, larger groups associated with Neturei Karta but not members of the group, can be found in Israel, London, New York City, and upstate New York state.

      For the most part, the members of Neturei Karta are descended from Hungarian Jews that settled in Jerusalem’s Old City in the early nineteenth century. They were tradesmen and craftsmen, who devoted most of their time to studying the Talmud and other sacred texts.

      At the time, they were vocal opponents to the new political ideology of Zionism that was attempting to assert Jewish sovereignty in Ottoman-controlled Palestine. They resented the new arrivals, who were predominantly secular.

      In fact, this position was adopted by the bulk of the Orthodox world (with the exception of a small faction of Orthodox Zionists, led by Chief Rabbi Abraham Kook and his followers) well up until the United Nations voted to partition Palestine on November 29, 1947.

    • Oui August 2, 2014, 12:47 AM

      Representatives of another Orthodox party, Agudat Israel, actually asked the General Assembly to vote against partition. Tensions were at their highest between the Zionist and non-Zionist Jewish communities in Palestine in the 1920s, following the political assassination [Haganah] of Jakob de Haan, a Dutch poet, former Zionist, and spokesman for Agudat Israel against the creation of a Jewish State.

  • Strelnikov August 2, 2014, 3:19 AM

    Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin is the second Comrade Ogilvy of this war after Sergent Guy Levy. They were killed by their own men fighting a pointless war their army cannot win. They are symbols of futility that will go unrecognized by most of their countrymen, because Israel is in the middle of a rage festival that would do the Norse Berserkers proud. So we need to tell how these men died to Congress, to tell them that giving Israel more money to fight the war is just pouring high-octane gasoline on a forest fire, and that a peace agreement must be reached, one that America can have NOTHING to do with because it is not neutral on the issue.

    • Fred Plester August 2, 2014, 11:03 AM

      Israel is apparently going to conclude the operation without any ceasefire, so that it can’t be forced into any concessions by the US.

      American politicians will swallow this, they always do, but the American electorate and the American military show signs of frayed tolerance. In the UK, Israel is losing the support of the Daily Mail, which means it is losing its support. The predominance of innocent civilians amongst the dead is the main problem the Mail has with the operation, and it’s not something that can be easily spun. The Mail has published several photos which a pro Israel paper wouldn’t have touched. The Mail is still pro Israel, but it’s not pro the people behind this operation and the policies behind it.

  • Egyptiotis August 2, 2014, 3:29 AM

    I heard of armies at war executing its deserters, but seeking to eliminate your (wounded) soldier who is taken hostage by the enemy… If the story is true then WAW…!

  • Carl August 2, 2014, 5:32 AM

    Speculation, but worth noting that the apparent failure of the cease fire and the subsequent killings may have been all a combination of misinterpretations of errors:

    – ‘NewsHour’ reported that Israel has admitted that the idf was ‘re-positioning’ tanks and armor during the cease fire; Israel says there was nothing esp unusual about this and Israel claims Hamas does the same thing. The catch though is the re-positioning entailed moving the mechanization across the previous line. Clearly, this movement may have led local Gaza (Hamas or not) militia to interpret military aggression and a violation of the cease fire.

    – The conflict in which a suicide bomber detonated, 2 idf’s were killed, and the idf capture (not kidnapped) occurred was within Gaza (albeit of course undground). This location may have led the local Gaza militia to interpret military aggression and a response with the capture of the idf being opportunistic.

    – Hamas has always claimed responsibility (and crowed) about idf capture(s); in this case apparently Hamas has equivocated, indicating that this incident occurred w/o Hamas knowledge. Thus, there is reason to believe Hamas did not intend to violate the cease fire.

    What these factors indicate is that this incident may have been a ‘tragedy of errors’ and the misinterpretations led Israel to its pre-existing conclusions, setting on its preferred course violating the cease fire .

    • Not to mention, of course, one other point August 2, 2014, 6:08 AM

      One other bit o’ speculation you might want to consider:
      a) The ceasefire was scheduled to start at 8am
      b) Hamas claims that firefight took place at 7am (i.e. before the ceasefire)
      c) The IDF claims that firefight took place at 9am (i.e. after the ceasefire)

      He said/she said.

      Not to labour the point, but simply because the IDF spokesbody says so don’t necessarily make it true.

      After all, of late the IDF’s spokebody’s reputation for truth-telling has taken about as big a battering as a UN school in Gaza, and almost as often……

  • Fred Plester August 2, 2014, 10:54 AM

    How long before the IDF starts issuing suicide pills, or even suicide vests, to prevent capture of its personnel?

    Soldiers are expected to pay a very high price in order to lower the political cost of operations!

  • Fred Plester August 2, 2014, 11:13 AM

    It’s all about tunnels.
    North Korea is also reputed to be keen on tunnels, but on a very different scale.
    It would be interesting to know if the US Military expect to learn anything from Gaza that would be applicable in Korea, but one suspects not.

    Recent archeological work in Belgium has uncovered the remnants of the tunnel system which British forces built under the Messines ridge: by and large the usual tactic was to tunnel to lay a mine, but tunnels could also position a large flame thrower near enemy positions. In some cases, tunnels were dug to allow safe movement of troops forward, too, though not actually used due to communications failure. So after a hundred years, things are much the same.

  • Daniel de França August 2, 2014, 12:38 PM

    Netanyahu says he will continue the invasion until Goldin is found.

  • Rob August 2, 2014, 3:03 PM

    Richard, your article on the Hannibal doctrine and Goldin assumes a lot, but perhaps that is your prerogative. My question is this. You conclude that the doctrine (in whatever form it is actually applied) implies a fascist, nationalistic state which subverts the primacy of the individual. I believe that there a probably a million cases where the individual must be sacrificed for the community and it would not amount to a fascist state, just a rationale one where the lives of the many trump the lives of the view. A cold utilitarian calculus perhaps, but not necessarily fascist.

    But here is my deeper point. If Gilad Shalit was freed at the cost of 1000 terrorists, including many murders who have the intent and ability to murder again, this type of a decision would strike me as being the very essence of individualists thinking – i.e. the life of one outweighs the threat of the lives of many. If Hannibal (in some form) is invoked in response to this phenomena, I think that leaves a deeply complex evaluation of the worth of an individual in the State of Israel. Yours is biased.

    • Daniel de França August 2, 2014, 10:29 PM

      Does it exist anything in the human world that is not biased?

    • Egyptiotis August 3, 2014, 12:49 AM

      I see your point about the “deeply complex evaluation of the worth of an individual in the State of Israel.” But remember that a number of vehicles on their way to the hospital were allegedly shelled. Your complex evaluation is then not enough complex to me, because it disregards international humanitarian law.

    • Jafar Siddiqui August 3, 2014, 2:08 AM

      Rob. Why is it that the label “Murderer” is so easily applied to Palestinians, but not to Jews who so casually kill (murder?) Palestinians?

  • Daniel de França August 2, 2014, 4:36 PM

    IDF confirmed Goldin was “killed in action”.

  • Adara August 2, 2014, 4:55 PM

    If I were a soldier, I think I’d like to be given the choice if I’d rather be captured or dead instead of someone else making it for me. If confirmed, this will just be one more example of the “most moral army in the world” showing that they are anything but. At this point, I’m convinced Israel’s plan is nothing short of the total destruction of Gaza. They’ll flatten it, move the survivors to the West Bank, and snag up all that oil BB is secretly salivating over.

    I’m a Jew too. Thanks for being one of the rare voices of sanity. WW2 has been over for a long time. Jews no longer need a spare country to stay safe. Arabs are being persecuted much in the way Jews once were, and fighting for a state just like the Zionist Movement did. How is it that no one can see the terrifying parallels here?

  • Hey August 2, 2014, 5:09 PM

    For god’s sake, man, enough with the ‘Israeli source’ bullshit already. Nobody believes you. You use it as a child’s imaginary friend to justify your baseless allegations and fantasies, meanwhile throwing accusations that, if they were ever taken seriously by anyone, would do nothing but amplify the pain of the soldiers family. And for what? For your self-satisfaction at some imaginary scoop? Imagine it was your kid. Our does your humanity embraces only Hamas?

  • Yossi August 2, 2014, 7:01 PM

    It’s clear Israeli highest levels (at least the chief of staff who was on the communication network) gave a command to kill the captured officer. They knew that negotiations with Hamas will turn the pointless massacre into a political grand defeat and were afraid for their seats. The patriotic family was persuaded to cooperate and the chief military rabbi said what he was told to say.

    This is not the first time the Israeli government lies to its citizens on life and death of soldiers but it’s a turning point nonetheless. The ethos of the state doing everything to save its soldiers was killed too. From now on Israeli citizens live and die to serve the state and it can kill them at its whim. This is not a democracy but a fascist regime.

  • PersianAdvocate August 3, 2014, 12:37 AM

    I read some of these comments and wonder if they realize what the entire world has seen and gone through. The IDF has terrorized all of humanity with the end products of its actions.

  • Diane Conti August 3, 2014, 1:06 AM

    Who are the ‘militants’ again?

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