Beyond the Cusp

June 11, 2015

United States Performed Analysis of IDF


Willy Stern of Vanderbilt Law School investigated the performance of the IDF in their strategies, methodologies, individual conduct, performance, actions, any improvisations, divergence from orders and stratagem for avoiding civilian casualties during the Protective Edge campaign in Gaza against Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the other motley collection of terrorists last summer. The paper will be released as an article to be published next Monday in the Weekly Standard. William M. Stern is an Adjunct Professor of Law as well as a Veteran journalist. Professor Stern spent two weeks with attorneys in the IDF’s international law department augmenting this research by meeting with front-line commanders to get a realistic view of how well planned systems and methods were able to be incorporated in the actions by the very units upon whom the actual application of these orders were carried out. Professor Stern was granted full access to the IDF data base on their reports and investigations into troop performances and compliance with procedures, especially in papers pertaining to the steps taken in the efforts to avoid civilian casualties or at the least to minimize civilian casualties. His results were far different from the, as Professor Stern stated it, was part and parcel of the IDF’s “legal zeal” which proved to be completely incapable of preventing the undeserved deluge of international criticism against the IDF during and after Protective Edge. The condemnations came mostly from the Arab Palestinians, the Arab League, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, numerous NGOs, the European Union, Several European Nations, Iran, and other sources which seemed to produce such a torrent of nonstop denunciations which were mostly fallacious attributions against the IDF from data garnered largely from the spokesmen for Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and the Arab Palestinian Authority which were repeated as factual without any fact-checking or alternate sourcing. In time the accusations would continue only this time each group would quote each other’s data and conclusions thus creating a huge, all-encompassing echo chamber where condemnation of the IDF using fallacious findings seemed to carry on for months and still quoted their lies after the actual facts were revealed while discounting that actual data when such was released.


Professor Stern’s findings and conclusions will never manage to have the attention from the mainstream media as it does not fit their agenda of Arabs being the downtrodden and oppressed people of color while the Israelis are cast by the all-knowing media as colonists completely ignoring the reality that Israel actually gained its independence from the real colonists, the British, years after the formation of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan (originally referred to as Transjordan) and other Arab nations making the pinning of the tag of colonist on Israel is another form of persecution of Israel through untruths and outright deceits which are the mainstay of the world’s leftist media. Professor Stern goes into detail explaining the IDF’s literally overwhelmed the civilians of Gaza by raining down leaflets warning that the location would come under attack even to the point of explaining whether the assault would come from the air or by land units and further informed the Gazans of pending actions with telephone calls, messages of Television and radio, and even calling political and other leaders in Gazan society so they could organize the evacuation of the civilians from targets areas which would soon be under assault despite these warnings also reaching the leadership and commanders of the Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and other terrorists enabling them to set up ambushes against coming troops or evacuate while moving any assets from the target area, even at times informing enemies of detailed and fleshed out troop movements which also takes away any hope for surprise when the attack is launched. A quote from the article authored by Professor Stern states, “It was abundantly clear that IDF commanders had gone beyond any mandates that international law requires to avoid civilian casualties.” Another concluding observation comparing Hamas and Israel’s IDF when it comes to protecting the lives of the Gazan Arabs who are presumably reliant on Hamas and their decisions as the ruling force in Gaza where he wrote, “Hamas’s playbook calls for helping to kill its own civilians, while the IDF’s playbook goes to extreme- some say inappropriate- lengths to protect innocent life in war.” Talk about can’t win for losing.


Within the article numerous international legal experts are quoted confirming the factual finds of Professor Stern’s research. Many argued that the IDF’s actions went to inappropriate measures in order to protect the civilians of Gaza with the numerous, and often overlapping, routes used to warn the Gazan civilians. Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, a military law expert at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany, had been brought to train IDF commanders about armed conflict laws in case some of the rules had been altered, changed or even replaced adding new restrictions and potentially affecting the rules of engagement (ROE) which could also alter the orders given in the field to assure compliance to the applicable legal codes and restrictions. Von Heinegg made a complaint that the IDF “is setting an unreasonable precedent for other democratic countries of the world who may also be fighting in asymmetric wars against brutal non-state actors who abuse these laws.”


Pnina Sharvit Baruch, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and former member of the IDF’s international law department also reported that she has received “recurring claims” from individuals who also worked with the legal divisions of militaries from numerous Western nations decrying the IDF’s efforts to comply with International Law and respond to every criticism. She reported the recurring theme that the IDF “is going too far in its self-imposed restrictions intended to protect civilians, and that this may cause trouble down the line for other democratic nations fighting organized armed groups.” Their restrictions in their ROE and the insistence of warning civilians through more discreet avenues such as calls in their cellphones was admirable and posed acceptable risks but their general method which disregarded the hazards attached to other methods which guaranteed their adversaries would also be notified of their intended actions allowing for easier ambush or removal of targeted supplies from selected locations the IDF intends to destroy gave adversaries too much of a tactical advantage which would cost Western forces in their actions for too vulnerable.


Michael Schmitt, director of the Stockton Center for the Study for International Law at the US Naval War College also concurred with the findings. Quoting his remarks, “The IDF’s warnings certainly go beyond what the law requires, but they also sometimes go beyond what would be operational good sense elsewhere.” Additionally Michael Schmitt noted, “People are going to start thinking that the United States and other Western democracies should follow the same examples in different types of conflict. That’s a real risk.”


The concurrence of these experts after their in depth study of the methodologies and rules for the warning of civilians, often by multiple means, displayed risks which placed the individual soldier and even entire units facing dangerous situations. In the IDF’s efforts they may have gone way too far in assuring that all civilians in targeted areas or areas of intended actions leading to risks that their efforts would be spoiled or lead to the troops being exposed to additional threats of ambush or entrenched opponents reacting to the warnings they had also been privileged to the same level of notice as the civilians. This is exactly the opposite of the reports and criticisms received during and immediately after and persisting for even months stretching well into the months after the end of Operation Protective Edge last summer. The repeated comparison of reported casualties repeated ad nauseum between levels of Gaza civilian deaths against the near perfect record of Israel and their deployments of the Iron Dome systems in strategic locations protecting the largest number of civilian targets as possible. One could almost hear the reporters decrying the lack of Jewish casualties and demanding with the complaints of disproportional casualty numbers that in fairness Israel should needlessly leave their civilians as vulnerable as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah and others allowed their civilians and possibly even to use Israeli civilians as carelessly and without regard for their lives in attempts to cause equal casualties just as their enemies in Gaza. The ghoulish reporting by a number of sources reporting on the conflict and their almost singular attention to the disparity between casualty numbers of civilians and the seeming regret that with the Iron Dome deployments gave the Israeli civilians too much protection compared to the ever so vulnerable Gazan civilians. The epitome of their singular regard for Gazan civilians’ protection against the Israelis climaxed when a reporter actually demanded that the Israelis should deploy Iron Dome systems in Gaza to provide equal protection for the civilians just the same as was provided for the Israelis. The findings by this research revealed a far different story giving to lies the reporting from last summer. Some might claim this is too little too late and there will be little to no coverage of these results. Where this may be a valid complaint, it is still an advantage to have such in depth, accurate and revealing story this report wove will be useful in presenting a defense of the IDF efforts and actions as well as the astounding efficiency of the Israeli defenses. We here at BTC would like to extend our thanks to Vanderbilt Law School’s Professor William M. Stern and his efforts at evaluating the actual data and giving a neutral and in-depth analysis and the ancillary concurrence of such respected individuals as Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, a military law expert at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany; Pnina Sharvit Baruch, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Studies; and Michael Schmitt, director of the Stockton Center for the Study for International Law at the United States Naval War College. Receiving such high marks for their efforts to provide protective efforts and displaying concern for the civilians in Gaza, the IDF can stand proud as they always have and tout Professor Stern’s efforts which vindicated what the IDF had claimed all along. This report also puts to lie many of the most damaging reporting from last summer and the IDF efforts. The vindication of the IDF and the accusatorial claims against Hamas, Fatah, and Islamic Jihad and by these also the Arab Palestinian Authority was revealed for the equally responsible party with the participation of Fatah in the launches of rockets into Israel and aiming those rockets in order to target civilians over military targets. One last time, thank you for your objective and thorough efforts Professor Willy Stern, you have done a service in validating the Israel Defense Force and their efforts displaying their regard, concern and empathy for the Gazan civilians and the risks they were forced to face. Thank you.


Beyond the Cusp



  1. Brian it was a pleasure meeting with you today. Shared on Google+. Keep us the great work…..


    Comment by — June 11, 2015 @ 11:58 AM | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.


    Comment by OyiaBrown — June 20, 2015 @ 7:10 AM | Reply

  3. […] Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg, a military law expert at European University Viadrina in Frankfurt, Germany wrote about his results in his researching the complaint that the IDF “is setting an unreasonable precedent for other democratic countries of the world who may also be fighting in asymmetric wars against brutal non-state actors who abuse these laws.” Below are three videos of reports made before the United Nations during one of their investigations into the Gaza conflict seeking and eventually authoring a scathing report blaming Israel of disproportional use of force. During reporters coverage of the Gaza War with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups, the reporters often appeared to be demanding to know why there were so few Israelis, or as one slipped and asked, so few Jews being killed. […]


    Pingback by Is This Radical Israel? | Beyond the Cusp — May 24, 2016 @ 2:28 AM | Reply

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