Saturday, September 18, 2010

Some Killing More 'Moral' Than Other

By Mel Frykberg

"RAMALLAH, Sep 18, 2010 (IPS) - Controversy is building up over a 91-year-old man, his 17-year-old grandson and a 20-year-old neighbour, all farmers, who were killed by Israeli shelling and gunfire as they tried to tend their land 700 metres from northern Gaza's border with Israel.....

Many of the male settlers are armed with sub-machine guns and IDF-issued M16 weapons. Furthermore, many settlers of compulsory military conscription age serve for three years in the IDF. Other settlers are in the IDF's reserve units, which involves attending a month's camp annually until the age of 40 and sometimes thereafter.

Two IDF brigades comprise solely of settlers. The Nagmar unit is on full-time call to the IDF and is part of the Israeli army's regional defence. The Nahal brigades are also served primarily by settlers.

This is where the status of the settlers gets blurred. "Clearly the women and children who don't serve are civilians," Shawan Jabarin from the Palestinian human rights organisation Al-Haq in Ramallah tells IPS.

"But armed settlers, and settlers serving in the IDF are armed combatants and fall under the category of armed militias. Armed settlers do not fall under the category of protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention," adds Jabarin.

According to international law expert Cordula Droege from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Tel Aviv, an armed settler can still be regarded as a civilian. "But those settlers actively serving in the IDF do not have civilian status," Droege told IPS....."


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