• 14 Jul, 2024

Israel Enforces Hannibal Directive, Accepts Risk to Own Citizens

Israel Enforces Hannibal Directive, Accepts Risk to Own Citizens

A new report states that Israel activated the Hannibal Directive from the start of the war on Gaza on October 7, allowing for the killing of captives taken by Hamas.

The Israeli army deployed the Hannibal Directive, allowing the use of all necessary force to prevent the capture of soldiers, during the October 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel, resulting in civilian and military casualties.

Key Points:

What is the Hannibal Directive?

The Hannibal Directive, also known as the Hannibal Procedure or Protocol, permits the Israeli military to use any force necessary to prevent Israeli soldiers from being captured, even if it results in the captives’ deaths. Established in 1986 after three soldiers were captured by Hezbollah, it aims to prevent soldiers from becoming strategic assets for the enemy.


The directive emerged from an incident in 1986 when Israeli soldiers were captured by Hezbollah. Israel's subsequent hardline stance stems from the belief that captured soldiers provide enemies with negotiating power and affect national morale.

October 7 Incident:

Haaretz found that despite its supposed cancellation in 2016, the Hannibal Directive was activated during the October 7 attacks by Hamas. Israeli commanders ordered its deployment without distinguishing between soldiers and civilians, contributing to significant casualties.

Previous Uses:

The directive has been used or suspected to be used in various incidents, including in 2000, 2006, 2008, and 2014, often resulting in severe consequences.

Israeli Government and Military Response:

The Israeli military has denied the directive allows for the deliberate killing of soldiers, and investigations are ongoing to review its application during the recent conflict.