Jewish rabbis: killing Palestinian civilians in war permissible
Sep 7, 2004, 16:32
Occupied Jerusalem - A group of hardline but prominent Israeli rabbis have urged the Israeli occupation army not to flinch from killing innocent Palestinian "civilians" in the context of fighting the current Palestinian resistance to the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian homeland.
In a letter to the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz published Tuesday, the rabbis pointed out that killing enemy civilians was "normal" during the time of war and that the Israeli occupation army should never hesitate to kill non-Jewish civilians in order to save Jewish lives.
"There is no war in the world in which it is possible to delineate entirely between the population and the enemy army, neither in the US war in Iraq, the Russian war in Chechnya, nor in Israel's war with its enemies," the rabbis said.
The rabbis quoted a Talmudic edict stating that "our lives come first."
"The Christian preaching of 'turning the other cheek" doesnÂt concern us, and we will not be impressed by those who prefer the lives of our enemies on our lives."
The letter was signed by a number of Israeli rabbis including Haim Druckman (former Knesset member) who heads a large religious youth movement known as the Bnei Akiva Society, Eliezer Melamed, head of a West Bank religious college, and Youval Sharlo, the head of another Talmudic college in Petah Tikva which combines Talmudic studies with active military service.
A few months ago, a prominent Rabbi in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba'a near Hebron issued an edict or religious ruling stating that non-Jewish civilians may be killed to save Jewish lives, soldiers and civilians alike.
The rabbi, Dov Lior, argued t that non-Jewish lives had no sanctity especially during the times of war. In 1994, Lior praised and eulogized Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish terrorist who murdered 29 innocent Arab worshipers who were praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque.
He called Godlstein a "great saint," saying that a "thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew's fingernail."
Earlier this year, Lior enthusiastically supported the killing of Palestinian civilians in Rafah in southern Gaza, saying that "it is very clear in light of the Torah that Jewish lives are more important than non-Jewish lives."
In formulating their theological positions, Lior and other like-minded rabbis rely on an old Talmudic maxim which states that it is a mitzvah (imperative religious duty) to kill enemy civilians in war time.
The same rabbis also often quote Old Testament verses in which God instructs the ancient Israelites to annihilate the Canaanites in ancient Palestine.
It is important though to point out that many rabbis, especially within Conservative and Reform Judaism, don't share the Orthodox view of non-Jews.
However, the Conservative and Reform branches of Judaism have very little influence in Israel and are generally persecuted by the powerful Orthodox establishment which view non-Orthodox Jews as somewhat unauthentic.
Since the outbreak of the Intifada nearly four years ago, the Israeli army and paramilitary Jewish terrorists have killed as many as 3500 Palestinians, the bulk of them innocent civilians, including more than 600 children and minors.
During the same period, Palestinian guerillas killed nearly a thousand Israeli soldiers, settlers and civilians.
It is widely believed that the phenomenon of human bombers appeared as a desperate response to Israel's wanton killings of Palestinian civilians.
The Israeli army denies that it kills Palestinian civilians deliberately. However, Israeli officials readily admit that the killing is carried out "knowingly and consciously" in the context of fight Palestinian violence.
Created By: Guy Incognito