Sniper: “They forbid us to shoot at children”.
Journalist: “How do they say this?”
Sniper: “You don’t shoot a child who is 12 or younger”.
Journalist: “That is, a child of 12 or older is allowed?”
Sniper: “Twelve and up is allowed. He’s not a child anymore, he’s already after his bar mitzvah. Something like that”.
Journalist: “Thirteen is bar mitzvah age”.
Sniper: “Twelve and up, you’re allowed to shoot. That’s what they tell us”.
Journalist: “Under international law, a child is defined as someone up to the age of 18.”
Sniper: “Up until 18 is a child?”
Journalist: “So, according to the IDF, it is 12?”
Sniper: “According to what the IDF says to its soldiers. I don’t know if this is what the IDF says to the media.”
-- Amira Hass' interview with an IDF sniper, explaining why so many Palestinian children were killed in the first weeks of the intifada, when the IDF was largely confronted by stonethrowers. Published in Ha'aretz, Don’t shoot till you can see they’re over the age of 12, 20 November 2000.
Photo: T-shirt printed for members of an IDF elite unit who had completed sniper training, reads "The smaller they are - The harder it is!".
Source: Dead Palestinian babies and bombed mosques - IDF fashion 2009 (Ha'aretz); via Mondoweiss.