To quote Vincent Vega, “That’s a bold statement.” It’s a claim that Col. Richard Kemp, commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an observer to the 2014 war in Gaza, defends in this latest video from Prager University. Kemp makes his argument based on two factors — the reason Israel goes to war (self-defense) and its conduct of war when conflict erupts. Despite claims of widespread war crimes and atrocities, Kemp insists that the IDF’s actions saved lives at risk of their own:
After repeated warnings from Israel to stop, the Israeli Air Force finally conducted precision strikes to halt the rocket-fire. And the IDF advanced into Gaza to destroy a network of terror tunnels that Hamas had constructed to attack Israeli communities near the Gaza border.
The IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping millions of leaflets, broadcasting radio messages, sending texts and making tens of thousands of phone calls. Let me repeat that. The Israelis called Gazans on their cell phones and told them to leave their residences and move to safety. Never in the history of warfare has an army phoned its enemy and told them where they are going to drop their bombs.
Many IDF missions that could have taken out Hamas military capabilities were aborted to prevent civilian casualties, increasing the risk to Israeli citizens and soldiers.
Kemp compares this to Hamas’ strategy, which deliberately used civilians as shields and as propaganda devices. The reason this strategy works, Kemp argues, is because Hamas knows that Israel wants to avoid civilian casualties:
Hamas deliberately positioned its military assets among the civilian population, hiding weapons in schools and hospitals, and placing rocket launchers alongside apartment buildings, then forced those civilians to stay in areas they knew would be attacked. They also instructed their people to report the lie that every Gazan killed was a civilian, even if they were actually fighters.
And if there were no civilian deaths, Hamas made them up! Numerous Internet sites show Palestinians elaborately staging sniper victims and smashed ambulances, among other phony horrors. It’s so common there’s even a term for it — Pallywood, as in Palestinian Hollywood.
Ironically, it’s the leaders of Hamas themselves who best understand the extraordinary measures the IDF will take to protect innocent civilians. They take full advantage of Israel’s decency and adherence to the laws of war.
Kemp concludes with this strong endorsement of the IDF and its practices:
No army takes such risks in order to protect civilians as the Israeli army does. I say this as a professional soldier. I say it because it’s true. And people who care about truth should know it.
Later today, Col. Kemp will be my guest on The Ed Morrissey Show, which starts at 4 ET. We’ll discuss his assessment of the IDF, the common allegations made about it, and the difficulties of militaries aligned with Western culture when fighting those which aren’t. Be sure to tune in.
Update: I changed the headline from “Israel” to “Israel’s IDF.” As one commenter put it, “Is Israel an army?” Er … no.