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Israelis Amazed by Open Debate In US Congress on Syria

If Israel was to discuss striking Syria, it would never have taken place in a Knesset open debate — as is the case in the US Congress — but behind closed doors.   
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry faces protesters against a military strike in Syria, as he arrives at a U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Syria on Capitol Hill in Washington, September 4, 2013. The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee will likely vote later on Wednesday on a draft resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria, several members of the panel said. REUTERS/Jason Reed  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY CONFLICT) - RTX13780
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Four months ago, on May 14, I wrote on this site about a case before Israel’s Supreme Court over a petition by the Yesh Gvul movement protesting the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) use of white phosphorus shells during Operation Cast Lead in December 2008. During their deliberations, the IDF presented the justices with documents, which only they were allowed to see for security reasons. Actually, the approval of the highest ranks of the IDF was necessary for the Supreme Court justices to even see these documents. The documents concerned the mandatory procedures for the IDF's use of white phosphorus, which is banned by international laws of warfare. 

This was one of the debates that human rights organizations in Israel force on the IDF every so often, knowing full well that discussions of these matters cannot take place in any other forum besides the court. Although these discussions are of moral value and although the Israeli army is defined as a “people’s army,” the Israeli public does not engage in these discussions. Instead, the public attaches “cosmic importance” to the phrase “sensitive security matters.” Such matters are taboo and must never be violated. There is to be no arguing about it, because anything that affects the security of the state in any way whatsoever lies outside the boundaries of the public discourse.

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