The IDF rules of engagement have been changed dramatically and the move will take effect in the coming days, Kan 11 News reported Sunday night. The changes are being made in light of operational considerations and have passed the Chief of Staff’s and his legal experts’ approval. The most dramatic change: permission for soldiers to fire on thieves who enter IDF bases and firing zones to steal weapons and ammunition.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett tweeted in response: “I congratulate the IDF on an important change in the rules of engagement. IDF soldiers must be able to defend themselves – and us. We continue to fight crime and restore security.”
מברך את צה״ל על שינוי חשוב בנהלי הפתיחה באש.
לחיילי צה״ל חייבת להיות אפשרות להגן על עצמם – ועלינו.
ממשיכים להילחם בפשיעה ולהחזיר את הביטחון. pic.twitter.com/Nl4AEcLkFR
— Naftali Bennett בנט (@naftalibennett) November 14, 2021
After years of neglect and foot-dragging by the previous government and chiefs of staff, the IDF now decided to expand the freedom of action of its soldiers and their available toolbox to let them fire at thieves. To date, the rules of engagement have not allowed them to open fire in such cases, and on numerous occasions, soldiers who opened fire when their lives were not in danger ended up in jail. The Tze’elim base in the Negev has become a Wal-Mart for brazen Bedouin thieves who knew they could not be harmed by the soldiers whose weapons and ammunition they were robbing.
The Egyptian border will also witness changes in the near future, after the dramatic increase in the number of smuggling from the Sinai. Soldiers will be allowed to fire at drug and weapons smugglers in the area of the new security barrier on the border – which has been discouraged in the past.
Finally, the rules of engagement will also be rewritten for Judea and Samaria, according to the report, to do away with gray areas. It’s not clear from the report whether soldiers will be allowed to use their judgment during Arab riots or the opposite, be even more restricted. The Kan 11 report noted that “the IDF clarified that even after rewriting the rules of engagement, IDF soldiers retain the full right to respond with live fire in the event that they feel that their lives are being threatened.” This could mean that if their lives are not being threatened directly and they choose to shoot, they’d swiftly be moved to a closed facility with bars and everything. The leftist media have been sounding the alarm in recent months on soldiers who shoot violent Arab rioters in Judea and Samaria.
The Regavim movement welcomes the IDF’s decision to change the rules of engagement regarding gangs of ammunition robbers at IDF bases in the south and drug smugglers on the Egyptian border. “This is a first step in restoring the IDF’s deterrence capability and the sense of security and ability of combatants whose hands have been handcuffed for many years,” Regavim stated.