Yaalon Says Security Forces Can’t Be “Trigger-Happy”

YERUSHALAYIM -
Moshe Ya'alon (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Moshe Ya’alon (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

For the second consecutive day, a senior Israeli defense official has publicly condemned excessive use of force in responding to Palestinian terror attacks.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon cautioned on Thursday that Israeli security forces must not become “trigger-happy” when combating terrorists who can be neutralized without resorting to deadly force.

A day earlier, IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot told a group of high-school students that the army’s rules of engagement were adequate and not in need of change.

“When there’s a 13-year-old girl holding scissors or a knife and there is some distance between her and the soldiers, I don’t want to see a soldier open fire and empty his magazine at a girl like that, even if she is committing a very serious act,” Eisenkot said, in a widely headlined comment.

In remarks to students at the Tel Hai College on Thursday, Yaalon said:

“We must act calmly, judiciously and with discretion in order to prevent hurting innocent people and to avoid creating a situation in which our outrage causes us to lose our humanity, and ultimately, lose sight of justice,” he said.

“We must not allow our senses to be dulled and must not become trigger-happy simply because our blood is boiling,” Yaalon added. “We need to know how to win and still remain human.”

The statements reportedly angered “senior Yerushalayim police officers,” who understood them as a personal attack on the conduct of their people under daily attack.

On the other hand, former director of the Shin Bet security service Yuval Diskin called Eisenkot’s directive “incredibly sane” and said that security forces “who cannot disassemble scissors or disarm a knife in the hands of a 13-year-old should not be serving as combat soldiers.”