Givati reservists: Don’t open criminal probe against Rafah battle officers
In letter to Chief IDF Prosecutor, alumni officers and combat soldiers say such investigation into events of August 1st battle will deter officers from doing what they must do during combat.
Three days after Ynet revealed audio recordings from the fateful battle in Rafah in which Sec.-Lt. Hadar Goldin was killed and kidnapped by Hamas, Givati Brigade reservist officers and fighters published a letter on Friday that they intend to send to the Chief Military Prosecutor, urging him not to open a criminal investigation against officers who took part in the fighting that day.
“We are reservist officers and soldiers, alumni of the Givati reconnaissance battalion serving in active reserve duty in combat IDF units. We are following reports in the media with concern, which say that the Military Prosecutor is considering opening a criminal investigation into officers from the Givati reconnaissance battalion over the events that occured in the battle in Rafah on August 1st,” they wrote.
August 1: Smoke over Rafah after the IDF’s bombardment (Photo: EPA)
The Rafah battle was documented in audio recordings in which the officers can be heard charging the terrorists, trying to take over a Hamas training camp and repeatedly attacking the mosque that housed the terror tunnel’s exit until reaching the conclusion that Goldin was no longer alive.
צילום: דובר צה”ל, יואב זיתון, וצלמי ynet, הדמיית תלת-מימד: ענבל גרוסמן, עריכה: נגה מימראן
|Yoav Zitun / Inside Hannibal Directive and Rafah’s Black Friday|
In those critical hours – from the moment of the Hamas ambush that led to the kidnapping until noontime – the IDF carried out the Hannibal Directive. The Palestinians claim the fire power that was used, mostly air and artillery fire, included hundreds of shells and bombs fired indiscriminately, leading to the deaths of dozens of non-combatant Palestinians, and hundreds more being wounded.
“From our personal knowledge, and from our familiarity with the values on which the battalion troops are brought up, we are absolutely certain that the fighters of the battalion and the brigade acted with professionalism, responsibility and morality during battle, while showing extraordinary bravery in an effort to rescue the kidnapped officer and while exchanging fire with the enemy. All actions made that day by the officers were made in order to uphold one of the IDF’s most important values, which states we don’t leave wounded soldiers in the field.”
According to the officers and fighters, “opening an investigation constitutes a serious violation of the IDF soldiers’ ethical code. This is a dangerous precedent that will have serious consequences for army commanders in the future who will be wary of doing what they must do in similar situations out of fear of lawsuits. The possibility that officers who led the battalion fighters with bravery while facing a real life-threatening situation will find themselves in a criminal investigation over actions made during battle is outrageous and concerning.”
“Furthermore, we’re concerned about the message sent and long-term consequences of breaking the delicate trust between enlisted soldiers, reservists and officers to the IDF and the State of Israel that sends them to the frontline while risking their lives. We will use our democratic freedom to put public pressure, as intense as possible, in order to make our position known.”
The letter was also posted on the Facebook page of the Fox Foundation, an NGO that devotes its activity for Givati soldiers and veterans.
The authors of the letter intend to collect signatures over the weekend and send it to the IDF Military Prosecutor next week.
Let me be 100% clear, I don’t care how many civilians were killed.
If they had to kill every civilian in Gaza to try to get this soldier back, no problem.
The IDF has become PC and reckless with the lives of our sons’, both on the battlefield and off the battlefield where are sons’ now must worry about being prosecuted for doing their job.