IDF completes large-scale Gaza drill simulating Hamas infiltration by land, sea, and air..
(photo credit: COURTESY IDF SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Politicians from across the political spectrum criticized a campaign begun on Thursday that calls on soldiers to refrain from firing at Gazan protesters who approach the security fence.
The campaign was organized by the B’Tselem organization, which calls itself the Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
The campaign’s controversial slogan is “I am sorry, commander, I will not fire.”
B’Tselem decided to organize the campaign after warning ahead of last week’s protests on the border with Gaza that they would lead to bloodshed. Some 17 protesters were killed, but Israel has said that most of them were Hamas terrorists.
“Firing at unarmed demonstrators is illegal, and an order to do so is even more illegal,” a B’Tselem spokesman said.
UN condemns Israel after over 15 Palestinian casualties in Gaza Land Day protests, March 31, 2018 (Reuters)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) wrote on Twitter that B’Tselem should instead go to the Gaza Strip and tell people there not to place explosives on the border, fire at soldiers, and violate Israel’s security. He mockingly said that if B’Tselem would not take such steps, Israel would have to continue relying on the IDF.
Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) responded by calling B’Tselem “liars who support terrorism” and its campaign “a knife in the back of residents of the South.” Soldiers should continue to listen to their commanders and not to “delusional left-wing extremists,” Erdan said.
Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay said he condemns any calls for soldiers to refuse orders.
“The IDF is the army of the nation, and it is loyally doing its work defending us during the holiday,” he said.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid accused B”Tselem of “moral blindness and shameful values” and said the organization had “lost its mind.”
He said B’Tselem should instead call upon Hamas to stop sending terrorists to try cross the border into Israel.