Accusations that Economy Minister Naftali Bennett caused a massacre of Lebanese civilians in 1996 are a response to his criticism of probes against IDF soldiers in Operation Protective Edge, the Bayit Yehudi leader posited Tuesday.
Speaking at the Foreign Trade Conference in Tel Aviv, Bennett recounted that, last week, he spoke out against the criminal investigation of Givati Brigade soldiers for enacting the Hannibal Protocol, which is thought to involve massive use force against a wide area in which the IDF believes the enemy has a captured soldier, in this case Lt. Hadar Goldin, during Operation Protective Edge.
"I made it clear: Heroism should not be investigated. Givati fighters deserve medals, not lawyers," Bennett said.
Then, on Friday, tabloid Yedioth Aharonoth published an article by Yigal Sarna suggesting that, as an officer in the elite commando unit Maglan, Bennett's actions may have led to the death of 102 Lebanese civilians during Operation Grapes of Wrath in 1996. Sarna described Bennett as demonstrating poor judgment, ignoring orders and changing operational plans without coordinating with his superiors. The article implied that, in addition to the loss of life, Bennett's behavior in the field caused grave damage to Israel’s image.
The claims went viral online, including on Arab and Palestinian news sites and social media.