Betancourt, Colombia Hostage Rescue: Israel Plays Guiding Role - Alex Safian of CAMERA Available for Comment

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Upon her dramatic rescue last week from the custody of Colombian rebel group FARC, as reported in the July 3 edition of the Wall Street Journal, Ingrid Betancourt stated "This is a miracle, a miracle. We have an amazing military. I think only the Israelis can possibly pull off something like this." In fact, according to Yossi Melman's 4/7/08 article in Ha'aretz, although Israelis did not directly take part in the rescue, Israeli security experts advised and guided the Colombian military in the planning of the successful operation through Global CST--an organization owned by former Israeli Defence Forces General Staff operations chief Brigadier General (res.) Israel Ziv and Brigadier (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser. According to Melman's piece, the Israeli group also provided equipment and intelligence technology to aid in the mission. Alex Safian PhD, Associate Director of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), is available for commentary regarding Israel's involvement in the rescue and Israeli anti-terror activities in general.

Is Israel Using 'Excessive Force' Against Palestinians?

Last week, the rescue of Ingrid Betancourt and 14 other hostages from the custody of Colombian rebel group FARC stunned and delighted onlookers around the world. As reported in the July 3 Wall Street Journal, Betancourt stated "This is a miracle, a miracle. We have an amazing military. I think only the Israelis can possibly pull off something like this." In fact, according to Yossi Melman's 4/7/08 article in Ha'aretz, although Israelis did not directly take part in the operation, Israeli security experts advised and guided the Colombian military in its planning through Global CST--an organization owned by former Israeli Defence Forces General Staff operations chief Brigadier General (res.) Israel Ziv and Brigadier General (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser. According to Melman's piece, the Israeli group also provided equipment and intelligence technology to aid in the mission. Alex Safian PhD, Associate Director of CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America), is available for commentary regarding Israel's involvement in the dramatic rescue and Israeli anti-terror activities in general.

The peaceful nature of the operation, accomplished without a single shot or injury, especially impressed the international community. And this type of mission, characterized by the highest regard for preservation of human life on all sides, falls firmly within the tradition of the Israeli Defense Forces. The IDF has developed a code of conduct that is a combination of international law, Israeli law, and the IDF's own traditional ethical code - ruach tzahal, "the spirit of the IDF."

From the beginning of the state's history, Israel's dedication to the preservation of human life has led to the risk and sacrifice of its own soldiers' lives in order to preserve the lives of civilians and to avoid escalation of conflict that might lead to unnecessary enemy casualties. In so doing, the IDF has set a consistently high moral standard of conduct when compared with the conduct of other military forces in similar situations (e.g., Safian, Alex, "Is Israel Using 'Excessive Force' Against Palestinians?," CAMERA, 2000), and developed effective strategies to avoid bloodshed in such anti-terror missions as the one resulting in the rescue of Betancourt and her fellow hostages.

To learn more about the traditions and conduct of the IDF in the Arab-Israeli conflict, please visit the CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) website at http://www.camera.org. For media inquiries or to book the guest commentary of Alex Safian, PhD on Israeli military history and the impact of Israel on the Betancourt rescue, please contact Isabel Smith at Isabel @ camera.org or 818-762-4473.

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