The Israeli army recently put together a “code of ethics” for the pullout from the Gaza Srip, including guidance to soldiers on how to handle anti-pullout activists.

A special team headed by an Israeli army major-general recommended, among other things, that security forces be allowed to open fire on pullout foes who endanger the lives of the soldiers and police only as a last resort, and when “all else has failed.”

The code also offers a  justification for the army’s participation in the pullout operation and procedures for dealing with refusals to obey orders.

The team was headed by Major General Eyal Ben-Reuven, commander of the military colleges. Also on board was Prof. Asher Kasher of Tel Aviv University, who helped  put together a “code of ethics” for the army a decade ago, and reserve Major General Haim Erez, among others. 

 The latest “code of ethics” does not cover confrontations between the Israeli army and Palestinian protestors - it only deals with Israelis facing Israelis.

According to Kasher, the standard explanations that commanders give to their soldiers refer to combat against terror or a hostile army, whereas the army’s role vis-à-vis the disengagement is more complex and thus requires a different approach.

In the pullout, the document states,  the army’s tasks ‘will not be tasks in the face of an enemy, or for the purpose of saving lives in face of immediate danger.’

Implementation of the disengagement plan, it continues, ‘must be done without bloodshed. The soldiers and police will return safely to their bases. Civilians who refuse to evacuate as required will be evacuated safely.’