Former Chief Justice Miriam Naor was responding to a landmark decision by the Israeli High Court on the IDF’s open fire rules.
Former Chief Justice Mirian Naor with Israeli Preisdent Reuven Rivlin
Last Thursday, the High Court of Israel declared that the IDF’s rules of engagement during the Gaza border crisis were in fact legal. Today, while speaking at the conference of the Israeli Bar Association, former Chief Justice Miriam Naor explained that “the court is being responsible…It sits in this country and not in Olympus, and so it did validate the rules of engagement, but it did something smart. It said that everything must be looked at after the fact.” Presumably, this ruling could potentially still leave room to declare IDF actions under its rules of engagement illegal, should a further review by the court be pursued.
Naor went on to assert that The High Court “did not give a license to kill. If [soldiers] are supposed to aim for the legs, they must aim for the legs.” In previous coverage of the Gaza border crisis, the Palestinian Health Ministry claimed that tens of Palestinian protesters suffered severe injuries from being shot in the leg by IDF soldiers. In one incident, two protesters ended up requiring their legs to be amputated after they were supposedly denied passage to a Ramallah hospital due to the fact that the injuries they sustained were the result of their participation in violent protests. The High Court heard the case as they sought to exit the Gaza Strip to arrive at the Ramallah hospital in the West Bank but denied their appeal.
Under the IDF’s rules of engagement, soldiers are instructed to aim for non-lethal spots on the body when shooting at protesters who do not pose an immediate threat of injury to the soldiers. The IDF maintains that live fire is only used in such situation where other methods of crowd control would be ineffective in ensuring the safety of IDF personnel.