Friday, August 8, 2014

The Hannibal Procedure

I'm following up on a question I wrote about a week ago: What are Halachic Considerations?.

A fascinating and intense and disturbing story in the New York Times sheds some light: Israeli Procedure Reignites Old Debate.

It was one of the rare invocations of the Israeli military’s “Hannibal procedure,” one of its most dreaded and contentious directives, which allows commanders to call in extra troops and air support to use maximum force to recapture a lost soldier. Its most ominous clause states that the mission is to prevent the captors from getting away with their captives, even at the risk of harming or endangering the lives of the captured Israeli soldiers.

It has been official procedure of the Israeli military for decades:

The Hannibal edict was drawn up by three senior officers in Israel’s northern command in the 1980s after two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

But it doesn't fully explain the recent event:

There was no contact or engagement between the soldiers who entered the tunnel and the captors, Colonel Lerner said. But he said some evidence found in the tunnel later helped the military determine that Lieutenant Goldin could not have survived the initial attack. He was declared killed in action by late Saturday night.

I know more than I did a week ago, perhaps less than I could, but perhaps as much as I should, or need.

And I appreciate the journalist who helped me understand things a bit better.

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