Gantz condemns leak of army communications from fatal Rafah battle

Leaked audio and video recordings, broadcast by Ynet, shed light on IDF's firing on targets in Rafah, following gun battle on August 1 with Hamas.

December 31, 2014 18:24
1 minute read.

Palestinians collect their belongings from the rubble of their house which police said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 9, 2014. (photo credit: REUTERS)

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz condemned on Wednesday the leaking of army communications in which officers issued orders to soldiers following the disappearance of a soldier during the summer conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking at a recruitment event for IDF volunteers, Gantz responded to audio and video recordings, broadcast by Ynet, of the IDF firing on targets in Rafah following a gun battle on August 1 with Hamas, in which Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed and his body taken by Hamas members.

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“I’m saying this unequivocally – the military is not a reality program.

We will not act according to ratings, and that’s why we are investigating the incidents in the most thorough manner,” Gantz said.

“The media has a very important role, but we must restrain ourselves,” Gantz said. “This is an investigation that involves bereaved families. We will investigate, complete investigations, but it is unacceptable in my eyes that recordings went public in such ways,” the chief of staff added.

Goldin, an officer in Palsar Givati, an elite reconnaissance unit of the infantry brigade, fell in battle after a Hamas cell emerged from a terrorism tunnel in Rafah and violated a truce that was in place by opening fire on his unit.

The tunnel had been part of a cross-border structure, the army said at the time, and terrorists emerged from the shaft, opening fire. The IDF responded with largescale firepower. It declared Goldin killed in action on August 3.

During his comments on Thursday, Gantz said the future held many challenges for the Givati Brigade.

He also referred to a Military Police investigation into alleged sexual harassment by Givati Battalion commander Lt.-Col. Liran Hajbi, who was ejected from his post recently by Gantz.

“There are incidents in which people make mistakes and we know how to deal with that and learn,” Gantz said. “I have full faith in the Givati Brigade commander [Col.

Ofer Winter], in the battalion and company commanders in the brigade, who fought with bravery and determination, and who took risks, doing an excellent job.”

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