Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The IDF’s ‘Hannibal Protocol’ and Two Criminally Insane Governments

by

The sickness of present-day Israel, on display over the past horrible month of the one-sided slaughter of nearly 2000 Palestinians (including over 400 children) in the fenced-in ghetto of Gaza, has finally reached its nadir with the ugly case of the deliberate Israeli Defense Force murder of captured IDF 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin.

According to an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, once it was determined that Goldin had been captured by Hamas fighters in the Gaza town of Rafah, the IDF initiated what it calls the “Hannibal Protocol” — the deliberate liquidation of the captive — to prevent his being used as a hostage to win concessions from Israel in future truce negotiations with the Palestinians. One reason for the almost instantaneous and ruthless Israeli decision to kill Goldin rather than attempt to rescue him, is that this captured soldier had the misfortune of being related to Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, making him a valuable prize indeed for Hamas.

And so began a massive bombardment of the entire residential area where Goldin was captured.

As Haaretz reports in an editorial [1] about this case of deliberate sacrifice of an IDF officer, headlined “What Happened in Rafah?”, the ensuing high-explosive blitz on the area didn’t just kill Goldin, but also indiscriminately killed over 150 Palestinians, most of them civilians, including many women and children. Indeed, the paper states that the IDF “…shelled and bombed houses and their inhabitants indiscriminately, and as they tried to flee homes, hit them with shells and bombs in the streets.” The fatal bombing of a targeted UN-operated school in Rafah, which was condemned by the US government and by UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon, who called it a “criminal act and a moral outrage,” was part of that Hannibal Protocol action.

Now recall that President Obama was quick to label the Hamas capture of Goldin “barbaric.”

The trouble is, having rather absurdly deployed that term to characterize the capture by Hamas fighters of an Israeli soldier who was at the time reportedly exploring a tunnel and trying to capture or kill enemy fighters, though, what then does Obama — what indeed does any person — call the indiscriminate slaughter of 150 civilians in the interest of eliminating one of one’s own captured soldier?

Certainly the Hannibal Protocol is in itself “barbaric” in its cool calculus of denying the enemy a bargaining chip. But that term hardly seems to capture the horror of what was done by the IDF in this case. Clearly implementing the Hannibal Protocol would have been okayed at the highest level of the Israeli government, particularly with the relative of a top government official involved. And when a military organization or a government moves beyond just killing the captive and his immediate captors to slaughtering everyone in the surrounding area, we’ve moved way beyond a word like “barbaric.”

I’m a journalist, and part of my job is being good with words, but I admit I’m at a bit of a loss here. Perhaps “criminally insane” is appropriate, but that is usually a term applied to an individual. In this case, though, we are talking about a whole government, or at least the military establishment and the senior leaders of that government, taken collectively.

The mind reels. Can an entire government be criminally insane? Certainly what happened with this Hannibal Protocol incident suggests that it can.

Recall, though, that this crime extends well beyond the borders of Israel. For the bombs and shells that were unleashed by the IDF on the people of Rafah as part of this murderous Hannibal Protocol campaign were, for the most part, manufactured and provided, at taxpayer expense, by the United States of America.

This massive war crime is thus as much a US atrocity as it is an Israeli one.

And if the Israeli government is criminally insane, so is the US government for uncritically and unthinkingly backing it.

We knew the US government and its military were criminally insane back in the Vietnam War, when we were told that peasant villages were being burned to the ground by US troops on the theory that “we have to destroy the village in order to save it.” Now we’ve moved a step further towards the depths of insanity in backing an Israeli policy of “slaughtering a village in order to kill one of our own soldiers.” Even in the moral cesspool that was America’s war on the Vietnamese people, the US military didn’t sink to that — they stopped at just slaughtering villlages.

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
Libby Lunstrum - Patrick Bond
Militarizing Game Parks and Marketing Wildlife are Unsustainable Strategies
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail