The IDF has revised its rules of engagement for soldiers serving in Yehudah and Shomron, in light of the tense situation on the ground, a decision that has drawn complaints from the rank-and-file.
The military issued orders for soldiers to hold their fire unless there is a genuine threat to their lives. Until now, soldiers would fire a number of warning shots in the air before taking aim at a potential terrorist, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
According to soldiers’ comments on social media, the new rules bar troops from shooting at a terror suspect’s lower extremities during an arrest. The interim guidelines now instruct soldiers to fire in the air.
“We are in total shock,” said one soldier stationed near Beit El, not far from Ramallah. “We received the new instructions, and we just don’t know how to digest this.”
Another in the Givati infantry brigade said: “There are new rules and we are now studying them. If a Molotov cocktail is thrown at me, even from a distance of just 30 feet, I’m not allowed to shoot at the person throwing it.”
“These are bizarre rules, and I, as an officer, will have difficulty in telling my soldiers and looking them in the eye.”
The restrictions are designed to decrease chances of escalating violence from the Palestinian population. As the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit explained:
“For obvious reasons, the IDF does not comment on the specifics of the rules of engagement. Nonetheless, in light of assessments on the ground, [the army has] issued new instructions that clarify the manner in which the forces are to deal with threats that do not constitute a clear and immediate danger to their lives.”