Gantz will be judged according to actions of army he commands, which kills, slowly committing war crimes without hindrance

And then the attack on Gaza… as if there were no provocations prior to the rockets…

The nice chief of staff

Benny Gantz will be judged according to the actions of the army he commands – and this army kills and kills, slowly committing war crimes without hindrance.

By Gideon Levy | Mar. 13, 2014 | 6:00 AM


The Israel Defense Forces was a little negligent this week in fulfilling its duty: It killed the wrong Palestinian.


Instead of killing just any Palestinian, the kind who shouts “Allah is great,” perhaps pushes, perhaps strikes out in rage, maybe waves an iron bar, maybe throws a stone, maybe wields a knife − acts that make it kosher for the IDF to carry out an automatic execution − the soldiers killed by mistake, certainly by mistake, a Jordanian judge. If he weren’t a judge, no one would judge their killing him.


Yet Raed Zueter was a judge, and not just anywhere but in Jordan. So it became a diplomatic mess, including an investigation and an expression by the prime minister of condolence to the “Jordanian people,” as if Zaeter was not a Palestinian from Nablus. It is therefore recommended to institute from now on a new procedure for soldiers: identifying futile killings.


But a few hours later came the correction, when IDF soldiers killed the right Palestinians. The IDF invaded a section of the Gaza Strip to clear overgrowth that could hide attackers, which is of course permitted. An Islamic Jihad force opened fire on the invading bulldozers. The result: three (rightly) killed Palestinians. In a place where the death sentence awaits any mentally disturbed woman, scrap-iron collector or demonstrator who dares to go near the fence, the IDF can do anything.


The IDF can also bury a wanted person under the rubble of his house and liquidate him from short range, as happened two weeks ago in Bir Zeit. It may also ambush stone throwers and kill them with live fire, as happened this week in the village of Bitin, in which Saji Darwish, who threw stones at the Beit El settlement, was killed, and happened to another four stone throwers in recent months.


Directing this work is the chief of staff, Benny Gantz. We haven’t had such a nice chief of staff for a long time. Humble, wearing a pleasant facial expression, the beautiful face of the IDF, everyone talks in praise of him and of his integrity. A man like Gantz won’t stumble into scandals like the Harpaz affair. How happy I was that he was appointed to the job instead of General Yoav Galant, commander of Operation Cast Lead who fired white phosphorous and carried out targeted assassinations, who last week again took cruel pride in, as he put it, “killing 800 terrorists” and “a victory of 1:100” in that criminal operation.


He might not brag like that, but the decent and nice Gantz, the last word in the Teflon industry, is commander of the army that has killed in recent months with insufferable ease. Drop by drop, like Chinese water torture, the army − heaven forbid − has not committed any massacres but a week has not gone by without at least one or two killed, sometimes three or four. Here and there in Palestine − here a child, there a judge.


No one is stopping this trickle of death. The media barely reports it, and certainly doesn’t investigate the real reasons. The politicians are actually satisfied, and the public yawns of course from boredom.


Only Gantz can put an end to this trickle of death. He is not doing so. There are no investigations. It goes without saying no one is going on trial. Nor do we hear a clear statement from the chief of staff to withhold fire. What comes of an assassination in Bir Zeit or a killing in an ambush in Bitin? Nothing.


At the end of last week Gantz was still conducting the festival of plunder and spin with the ship, and now he is at the nauseating celebrations at the “Friends of the IDF” event in the United States. Two weeks ago, a disabled IDF veteran was sent to a similar event in Miami Beach to expose his stumps to the applauding, sobbing audience. The Jews and the former Israelis love it. They also love Gantz, just as most Israelis love this decent man.


But the true decency of the chief of staff will not by judged by his way of life or how nice he is. Like every chief of staff, he will be judged according to the actions of the army he commands − if not now, then the day will come. And this army kills and kills, slowly committing war crimes without hindrance.

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