Gallant: Decision is political, hypocritical

Ex-Southern Command head says ICC’s move doesn’t reflect moral level IDF

YOAV GALLANT: The Iranians are the most significant and dangerous threat to Israel and the entire Western world.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
YOAV GALLANT: The Iranians are the most significant and dangerous threat to Israel and the entire Western world.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The International Criminal Court’s decision that it has jurisdiction to open probes against Israel is political and hypocritical, Education Minister  and former IDF commander Yoav Gallant said Saturday night.
“It is not a legal decision – it’s a political one,” he said in a conversation with The Jerusalem Post.
Gallant was commander of the Southern Command during Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in the Gaza Strip in 2009. The IDF’s anti-terror operations in Gaza will be the focus of any future ICC probe against Israel.
He said that following the military action, countries sent senior commanders to Israel to study how to avoid unnecessary casualties.
“After Cast Lead, the United States, and also European and Asian countries, sent military representatives to learn how we got to such a low ratio between civilian casualties and terrorists,” he said. “There were about 800 terrorists killed and 250 civilians that were unfortunately killed.
“The IDF is the most moral army in the world,” he added.
Gallant said the international community, by making this decision on Friday, is hypocritical.
“While these countries are condemning us – especially in Europe – they are sending their chiefs of staff to me so they could learn how we do it the right way,” he said. “When they were operating in places like Kosovo,” he added, “the ratio was 10 civilians [dead] to one terrorist.
“It is all hypocrisy – it is a political move and not a legal one, and it is definitely not reflecting the moral level of the IDF.”
When asked if he is concerned about the ramifications of such investigations, like personal sanctions against those who were directly involved in operations in Gaza, Gallant replied: “I trust the State of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel’s strength,” he said.
“We should do whatever it takes to protect ourselves.”
Former southern command head Yom-Tov Samia, who held senior positions during operations Cast Lead and Protective Edge, told the Post that he’s not concerned over personal sanctions he might suffer due to the ramifications of the decision.
“I am absolutely not concerned, I know my actions,” he said. “The IDF, the State of Israel, and I acted in accordance to the international law and norms — and protected the citizens of Israel regardless of their race, religion, and gender.
“I can tell you that in my actions, and in the actions of other IDF commanders, we prevented the death of more Palestinians than the mistakes we made [in which innocent civilians were killed,” he added.
“We saved the lives of thousands of Palestinians because of the preventative steps we take.”
Earlier on Saturday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz sent a letter to the IDF’s soldiers and commanders and to the entire security establishment condemning the ICC’s move.
“It is a severe decision... which is being conducted with a lack of proper authority and is meant to serve as a tool by those who hate the State of Israel,” he wrote. “The purpose of the court is not to interrupt democratic countries in their fight against terrorism and in their effort to protect their citizens.”
He stressed that he trusts the country’s judiciary system.
“Israel has an independent and professional judiciary system, which includes examination, investigation and judgment mechanisms, which are doing their jobs in the best way.”
He added that from the legal perspective, Israel is ready for any scenario, and will protect its citizens.
“The security establishment, along with other governmental organizations, will determinately act in order to prevent actions against IDF commanders and soldiers and other people from the security establishment,” he said in the letter.
“[We are in a] complicated period of time, with multiple security-related threats,” he wrote. “I fully trust that the security establishment will stay as a strong wall against the threats – whether they are close or distant.”