If a captive soldier is known to be in a certain vehicle, Mr. Amidror said, it is permissible to fire a tank shell toward the engine of the car. “You for sure risk the life of the soldier, but you don’t intend to kill him,” he said.
Asked whether it was morally acceptable to risk a soldier’s life in this way, Mr. Amidror said: “You know, war is very controversial. Soldiers have to know there are many risks in the battlefield, and this is one of them.”
That is for Israeli soldiers and it is called the Hannibal Procedure more generally. The subtext is that an Israeli soldier captured by the enemy can end up being traded for a thousand or more imprisoned Palestinians. The persistence of the kidnapped state for the soldier may create an intolerable situation for the Israeli public, more than would seem to be the case for a deceased soldier, and arguably it damages morale for future soldiers to a greater extent.
Not everyone likes the Hannibal Procedure:
“The procedure is morally flawed,” said Emanuel Gross of Haifa University, an expert in military law and a former military judge. “We have no right to risk the life of a soldier only to avoid the payment for his return from captivity.”
Instead, Mr. Gross said, Israel ought to stand more firmly against the inflated demands of the captors.
I wonder how the opinion of the median soldier or soldier-to-be on this policy compares to the opinion of the median Israeli citizen. Our philosopher readers will also note the connection of this debate to the longstanding conundrums over whether a person ceasing to exist can be said to harm that person, a topic discussed by Derek Parfit among others.
The full story is here, interesting throughout.