After the overwhelming success of 2015, Shurat HaDin decided to establish this conference as an annual event.
Thanks to the great efforts of Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her ladies team, again top-class experts were the speakers. Of course, the team includes also men, but they are active in other sectors and were not visible during the conference.
In her inaugural address, Nitsana explained the necessity for a modification of the current laws of war in order to find legal answers of the new asymmetric warfare. The old and current laws of war, she explained, will not function if one side of the armed conflict is using methods which are entirely novel.
The bitter experiences of the Gaza conflict in 2014 “Operation Protective Edge” have shown that Hamas did not leave out one single opportunity to involve civilians directly or indirectly into the fights. Nitsana reminded about human shields, launchings pads in hospitals, schools and kindergartens. Hamas forcibly refused that endangered civilians may leave their premises when warned from the IDF of an imminent attack. “Palestinian terrorists use people to protect their weapons, the IDF use their weapons to protect people”.
Although the whole world could see the pictures, Israel was accused to commit war crimes and massacred adults and children. However, Hamas played comfortably victimhood and was assured of worldwide pity and understanding.
She furthermore pointed out about similarities in Syria. The IS murder and slaughter civilians and causing the genocide of complete ethnos. Millions are taking refugee across borders, numberless did not survive their escape. The current law of war does not take effect in this area.
Israel is the only country worldwide, where soldiers and politicians must be afraid of anytime facing an accusation by the ICC and persecuted with an international arrest warrant and in danger for an arrest while crossing a border. The goal of the conference is to make sure to adapt the actual international law to new realities, that the IDF may resume its task to protect the Israeli civilians and to defend the country without the threat from the ICC. The protection and defense of a country is the main duty of every regular army.
The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, right away, began with an actual characteristic of Jerusalem and Israel: “Everywhere people are running away from a terror attack. Only in Israel, people are running to it in order to help. And in most cases it only takes about 60 seconds to neutralize a terrorist.”
Unfortunately, he knows what he is saying. Since October 2015, many terror attacks, mostly against civilians, sometimes against members of the IDF, took place.
Most of the attacks happened in Jerusalem. Other Israeli cities did not suffer, a high number of attacks happened in Yehuda and Shomron.
Jerusalem requires its own strategy to overcome and prevent terror. It became clear, that the terror is abusing civil and citizen rights to fight exactly those rights. Civilians, security services, police, government and NGOs must co-operate to find a solution. The “bad guys” will be filtered out before they are doing damage. They must be monitored and may not have the time and opportunity to carry out terror attacks. Who are they, where are they coming from, are their families involved? Life must be made difficult for them and they must know that they will pay a heavy price.
“The most fundamental task is to find out where and how they live and who supports them. The world still believes that their sources are in their proximity. However, we live in a globalized world. Support comes via internet from everywhere, across borders. Local terror activities quickly develop into global activities. The same applies for proven or for new strategies against terror, from local to global. As for Jerusalem, as a matter of fact, offensive is the best defense.”
Offensive in a positive sense, in the sense of being and act first: to improve the infrastructure, strengthening relations with Arab leaders. In fact, this improved remarkably without notice from the public.
“We always try to find out if we are dealing with juveniles attackers. If they are really “bad guys” we respond very tough. For juveniles we are offering full-day schools and invest a lot into their education. We want them away from the street. Therefore, we will integrate their parents but this requires the participation of opinion leaders. We must make it clear, that they have a choice. And if they push their children to the wrong decision they will pay a heavy price”.
Mayor Barkat pointed out the social media, which are inciting for violence and glorifying it. Here as well we must offer alternatives and preventive possibilities. The communities are requested to co-operate closely with the police and the inland secret service.
When the danger of terror is increasing, as it happened during the first and second Intifada and last year as well, one means is to prevent free mobility with roadblocks.
The eastern part of Jerusalem was completely isolated. After some days deputies of the city met with deputies of Arab citizens. They did not complain, on the contrary, they understood this drastic security measure. However, they also explained how the people from the east of the city suffered because of this de facto blockade. Again, because of the co-operation between the city, police and security service most of the roadblocks were removed and within few days the remaining. In return, more responsibility is demanded from the Arab leaders and to make sure that no further terror attacks in the territories must be expected.
It is now up to the Arab citizens that their children and juveniles go back to school and normal life. They understood, that life will go on only without own made restrictions and stress.
The promise was that their children are looking forward into a secure future, with a perspective for an education and a job.
For the first time the „Shurat HaDin’s Magen Israel Award“ was presented within a short but moving ceremony. Eleven Israelis received a price for their courage and help during terror attacks. They chased the terrorists and neutralized them, assisted the victims, even though they were also wounded, and prevented with their swift action more victims, informed the police and ambulances and eventually were victims too. Among them two young women. One of them managed to bring a group of kindergarten children into safety, which was targeted by two terrorists.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Brigade General Avigdor Kahalani presented the awards.
According to the Washington Post, John Medved is one of the most prominent Israeli “Venture Capitalists”. He insists that the BDS-movement attacks Israel simultaneously on different levels. One of them is the economy. He says, “You want to attack Israel economically and financially? I wish you (the BDS) good luck, because we will win this battle!”
In the past years, the invested amounts from abroad increased more than 100 %. In 2015 alone, 4.5 billion US$ were invested in Israel. In the first half of 2016 again an increase of 20% over the previous first half year. As a comparison, the US military aid amounts to 3 billion US$, the total donations from private institutions were much lower. The high investment volume, mainly in the high tech sector, strengthens the Israeli economy and creates jobs.
Currently Israel has about 300 R&D centers, among them Microsoft, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Apple and Intel. Israel will make sure, that the fight goes into the right direction for more investments. The fight against BDS requires a change of strategy. Instead of removing capital from Israel (the disinvestment of BDS) Israel must not fight like Don Quichote against windmills. Israel must increase investments from abroad.
In Asia, the infamous BDS is unknown, Asian investors know very well, that Israelis are clever and reliable business partners they wish to co-operate. From Asia, the flow of investments is steady and Israel will use this chance.
©esther scheiner, israel