Practice Relating to Rule 15. The Principle of Precautions in Attack
In 2009, in a report on Israeli operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 (the “Gaza Operation”, also known as “Operation Cast Lead”), Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated:
For attacks planned in advance, the IDF’s [Israel Defense Forces’] efforts to implement the principles of distinction and proportionality began at the initial planning stage, where each operation and target was considered on an individual basis in order to ensure that it met the requirements of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. Targeting decisions which were planned in advance were reviewed by several IDF authorities, including MAG [Military Advocate General’s Corps] officers. The decision-making process involved an in-depth analysis of all relevant considerations, which was based upon the available intelligence, including the operational needs, the anticipated damage to property and sensitive sites, the anticipated harm to civilians, and so on. Whenever possible, the IDF verified the accuracy of the information on the target by cross-checking updated and independent intelligence sources. In this process, the IDF disapproved some, approved others only under certain conditions, such as the time of the attack, the type of weapons used (in order to achieve the military goal while reducing collateral damage), or required precautions prior to attack. On numerous occasions the process resulted in rejection of proposed military operations, where, for example, the available intelligence regarding the proposed target was not sufficiently reliable or up-to-date, or where the likelihood of collateral damage to civilians and their property was considered excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated.