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A very disturbing diary posted late last night This is Gaza. This is alshujaiya  with some unforgettable photos of a built up neighborhood leveled in a ferocious IDF shelling attack. The poster a resident of Gaza commented in a reply to me: "It is Israel's policy. If an Israel  soldier is captured the army tries to kill him and everyone around him." I was horrified, aghast that any government or military would have such a draconian policy to deliberately kill its own captured soldiers and everyone nearby including innocent civilians. Then this poster named alshujaiya after the destroyed neighborhood posted: "Israel does not want another Gilad Shalit" and then: "It is called the Hannibal procedure".

It turns out the Hannibal Directive is a widely known open secret in Israel and in its occupied territories on the West Bank and Gaza. Another commenter Pilsner posted this link that confirms the claim.

Israel Murders IDF Soldier to Prevent His Capture


This Israeli report, which was censored by the IDF, says only that the attempt to capture the soldier failed.  It says nothing about his fate.  The expectation of anyone reading it would be that the soldier was freed.  But he was not.  In order to prevent the success of the operation, the IDF killed him.  I don’t yet know the particulars of the capture and his death.  I would presume that once the militant fled into the tunnel with his prisoner that the IDF destroyed the tunnel and entombed those within it, including the soldier.  I would also presume that the IDF knows he is dead because they retrieved his body.

To the uninitiated this will seem a terribly strange, uncivilized, even immoral act.  But that’s where I learned something I’d never known before about the IDF.  There is an unwritten secret regulation written by the IDF High Command, but nowhere codified in writing.  Its existence is protected by military censorship.  Journalists have rarely written about it.  When they have it’s usually been in code or by inference.

It’s called the Hannibal Directive.  


the Hannibal Directive

By Sara Leibovich-Dar    May 21, 2003

For years, the army denied the existence of this directive, and the military censors did all they could to prevent it from becoming public knowledge. There were occasional media attempts to ignore the censors and make the order public, but the veil of secrecy made any serious public discussion impossible. But then, two weeks ago, Dr. Avner Shiftan, a doctor at Poriya Hospital in Tiberias, told Haaretz Magazine ("Better dead than abducted," May 9) that he had encountered the order in the course of his military service in southern Lebanon and had tried to get it annulled. This time Military Censorship didn't blue-pencil the report. In the wake of the Haaretz article, a lively debate developed on Israel Radio current events programs and on Channel One's "New Evening" program, which in turn elicited passionate responses from soldiers presently serving as well as former soldiers. Dozens of them contacted the three media outlets, described their encounter with the order and expressed their objections to it. Some of them said that its spirit still prevailed among field commanders.

The testimonies indicate that the so-called Hannibal procedure was fully activated when three soldiers - Sergeant Benny Avraham and Staff Sergeants Omar Sawid and Adi Avitan - were abducted in the Har Dov region along the Lebanon border on October 7, 2000. At 12:50 P.M. that day, a Hezbollah squad attacked the Israeli soldiers' security vehicle with rockets and automatic fire, snatched the three soldiers and took them into Lebanese territory. The abandoned vehicle was found half an hour later and the Hannibal procedure was invoked. Attack helicopters were sent into action and opened fire at cars in which the army thought the abducted soldiers were being held.

"It was only after some time that I understood exactly what happened there," says Haim Avraham, Benny's father. Avraham heard about the Hannibal procedure two weeks before his son was abducted.

"I visited him in the army and he told me about the procedure. He told me that the order was that if a group of soldiers was abducted, the vehicle had to be stopped at any price, even if this cost the soldiers' lives. I was appalled. I asked him if he would be willing to shoot at his buddies. He said it was an order. After the abduction, one of the officers told me that in order to stop it, they intercepted 26 vehicles in the area. I remember the number clearly. At that moment, I didn't grasp the meaning of what he was saying, but after some time I connected what the officer said with what Benny told me and I realized that the implication of the procedure is that if my son was in one of those vehicles, they would kill him straightaway."

In other words the IDF killed anything in that vicinity of Lebanon that moved in a vehicle following Sergeant Benny Avraham's capture in an attempt to kill him, indiscriminately murdering numerous non-combatants in the process.

This is wrong on so many levels its hard know where to begin. The slaughter of the residents of Alshujaiya is the most heinous aspect of this Hannibal Directive. To spare Israeli leaders the political headache of needing to free captured IDF soldiers with unpopular prisoner swaps, killing their own soldier along with scores of innocent civilians is the IDF's preferred option, and in fact the IDF's standard operating procedure. The interests of nearby civilians and the soldier's family come second to the political expediencies of Israel's leadership. That's also what Israel often accuses Hamas of doing.

How many Gazans died in Alshujaiya as a result of the Hannibal procedure?  Diarist alshujaiya reported: "Three days ago it was 72 civilians found buried. Today there are more found because of the calm. No one knows the total. We don't know which families are buried." followed by this: "There is a smell of death and mothers digging their dead babies from the rubble. People are dead."

Also this: "Israel does not want another Gilad Shalit so Israel destroys all of alshujaiya." And then: "We need professional rescue teams and equipment"
A heart rending request Israel and the US make it impossible to respond to.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Sat Jul 26, 2014 at 11:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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