Sgt. Guy Levy of the armored corps, killed July 26, 2014 by the IDF to prevent his captureI’ve devoted a good deal of my life to Israel. I’ve studied, read, visited, lived, breathed it. Not in the way diehard pro-Israel fanatics do. But in a different way that matched my own intellectual and political proclivities. It’s a subject that is rich, varied, troubling, bedeviling, and exhilarating. But every once in a while I learn something I never thought possible; and I don’t mean this in a good way.
Tonight, my Israeli source informed me that Sgt. Guy Levy, serving in the armored corps, was captured by Hamas fighters. He had been part of a joint engineering-armored-combat unit searching for tunnels. Troops entered a structure and discovered a tunnel. Suddenly, out of the shaft sprang two militants who dragged one of the soldiers into it. By return fire, one of the Palestinians was killed, while the other fled, presumably with the soldier.This Israeli report, which was censored by the IDF, says only that the attempt to capture the soldier failed. It says nothing about his fate. The expectation of anyone reading it would be that the soldier was freed. But he was not. In order to prevent the success of the operation, the IDF killed him. Nana reports that the IDF fired a tank shell into the building, which is the same way another captured soldier was killed by the IDF during Cast Lead.
I would presume that once the militant fled into the tunnel with his prisoner that the IDF destroyed the tunnel and entombed those within it, including the soldier. I would also presume that the IDF knows he is dead because they retrieved his body.
To the uninitiated this will seem a terribly strange, uncivilized, even immoral act. But that’s where I learned something I’d never known before about the IDF. There is an unwritten secret regulation written by the IDF High Command, but nowhere codified in writing. Its existence is protected by military censorship. Journalists have rarely written about it. When they have it’s usually been in code or by inference.
It’s called the Hannibal Directive. Though the Wikipedia article doesn’t explain the reference to Hannibal, I assume it relates to the death of the great Carthaginian general, who took poison rather than allow himself to be captured by his mortal enemy, the Romans. Though Sara Leibovich-Dar wrote in 2003 that the name came from a military computer!
In my long history of dedication to this subject, I’ve rarely seen anything that has disturbed me as much. The Hannibal Directive is:
…A secret directive of the Israel Defense Forces with the purpose of preventing Israeli soldiers being captured by enemy forces in the course of combat.As happens so often in these cases, an IDF commander instrumental in drafting the order denied the horrific logic of the directive and then offered an example of how he would proceed which only confirmed it:
…The order, drawn up in 1986 by a group of top Israeli officers, states that at the time of a kidnapping the main mission becomes forcing the release of the abducted soldiers from their kidnappers, even if that means injury to Israeli soldiers.
The order allows commanders to take whatever action is necessary, including endangering the life of an abducted soldier, to foil the abduction…
In a rare interview by one of the authors of the directive, Yossi Peled…denied that it implied a blanket order to kill Israeli soldiers rather than let them be captured by enemy forces. The order only allowed the army to risk the life of a captured soldier, not to take it. “I wouldn’t drop a one-ton bomb on the vehicle, but I would hit it with a tank shell”, Peled was quoted saying. He added that he personally “would rather be shot than fall into Hizbullah captivity.”In other words, the IDF will do almost everything in its power to prevent capture of its soldiers including killing him. It might not put a bullet directly in his brain, but it would certainly shell a home or vehicle in which he was situated.
Perhaps there’s a lingering bit of the liberal Zionist I once was here, but I’d always heard that Israel never leaves a soldier behind. It does everything possible to bring all its troops home, and once captured does everything possible to retrieve or free them.
All this time I was sorely mistaken. When all hope is lost of liberating the soldier from captivity, he dies. What’s equally disturbing is that the existence of the directive is an open secret. Commanders warn their soldiers that no one may be captured and that if you are you must commit suicide. If you can’t do that, then they will do their best to kill you. Perhaps they don’t articulate it precisely in those words, but that’s the clear intent.
Lest you think Hannibal is a theoretical regulation, it has been implemented before and captured soldiers have been killed by the IDF. Most recently it happened during Operation Cast Lead:
During the war there was a case where the Hannibal directive was invoked. An Israeli soldier was shot and injured by a Hamas fighter during a search of a house in one of the neighborhoods of Gaza. The wounded soldiers’ comrades evacuated the house due to fears that it was booby-trapped. According to testimony by soldiers who took part in the incident the house was then shelled to prevent the wounded soldier from being captured by Hamas.You have every right to ask: what soldier in his right mind would follow such an order. There are thankfully examples of ones who refused. But there are a number who didn’t including the tank commander who fired on his comrade in that home in Gaza, killing him.
You also have a right to ask how the IDF could approve such a regulation. The answer is it didn’t more @ http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-murders-idf-soldier-to-prevent-his-capture/5393552