Yesterday, December 27, 2011, Lieutenant General Benny Gantz celebrated big time. In his first major interview since he took office as Chief of Staff of the IDF ten months ago, he rejoiced on the third anniversary of Operation Cast Lead.
The interview took place as part of the Shirutrom, the IDF’s annual telethon. It was given to Ilana Dayan, a senior Israeli journalist, at Galei Tzahal (“IDF Waves” in Hebrew; it also labeled by its acronym Galatz), the Army Radio. This is the most popular radio station in Israel. It was covered also by BaMahane, the IDF weekly magazine. These details are important. IDF Chiefs of Staff seldom give public interviews at all.
Not for the first time, Benny Gantz proved being different. Yet, he chose to give the astounding interview at home. The army controlled radio and newspaper ensured only questions suitable to his political goals would be asked. There was no chance Ms. Dayan would ask uncomfortable questions; uncomfortable truths would be kept for the refugees’ forums. No civilian bastard would be allowed to tackle him with issues like human rights.
Once a suitable stage was set, he attacked. He began by praising Operation Cast Lead: “an excellent operation that achieved deterrence for Israel vis-a-vis Hamas.”
After this shocking statement, he declared his intentions. He warned that cracks have emerged in that deterrence over time, and that a second round of fighting in the Gaza Strip is not a matter of choice for Israel. “Such a round must be initiated by Israel and must be “swift and painful.”
In other words, Benny Gantz declared a second Cast Lead Operation is in the planning, and that he would be glad to conduct it. Formally, the Israeli government is the suitable body for declaring war or approving operations. General Gantz stepped way out of his role, indirectly declaring his intention to become prime minister.
Benny Gantz | Ilana Dayan
The event was exceptional in another sense. It was the Shirutrom, the IDF’s annual telethon. At that opportunity, the IDF collects donations from Israeli citizens. Is the IDF so poor? Can’t they buy bullets anymore?
Hardly so. The IDF budget is over 6% of Israel’s gross domestic product and over 15% of the overall Israeli administration budget. With its annual budget wobbling around 15 billion American dollars, the IDF is one of the richest armies in the world. Yet, it begs pennies from a population which can hardly survive in Israel’s brutal market.
The sums collected by the Shirutrom are irrelevant to the IDF; yet, the event takes place yearly as a sacred rite of the secular state. Replacing Christmas, it reinforces the Israeli mantra: “the entire world is against us, we must spend all our efforts in security.” This is vital, if distracted from this lie Israeli citizens may notice they are being daily violated by an illegitimate regime. Thus, Benny begs.
Simple Truths: your cannons are for killing | your planes are for killing
In the heat of the Arab Spring, one very important news item didn’t get the attention it deserved. On February 14, 2011, Binyamin “Benny” Gantz replaced Gabi Ashkenazi as the IDF Chief of General Staff. I reviewed the problematic election process in Goldstone Determines IDF Head.
At the end of February 2008, General Ashkenazi commanded Operation Hot Winter during which the IDF attacked Gaza. The fighting ended in a truce between Israel and Hamas. At the end of 2008 and in early 2009 Ashkenazi commanded Operation Cast Lead. The latter was investigated by the UN and lead to the definition of Israel as a terrorist organization in article 1690 of the Goldstone Report, accepted by the UN Human Rights Commission on October 16, 2009. Askhenazi was tainted and didn’t get fifth year in the charge usually given to IDF commanders. Ehud Barak – Israel’s Minister of Defense – chose Yoav Galant to replace Ashkenazi in February 2011.
Despite Barak’s weakness, on September 5, 2010, the Israeli government approved his nomination of Yoav Galant as the next Chief of Staff. However, Galant was also tainted. During Operation Cast Lead he was Commander of the IDF Southern Command, which includes Gaza Strip. As such, he was also responsible for Israel’s hideous crimes. After being declared the next IDF Chief of Stuff, he was replaced by Benny Gantz; this was an unprecedented event in the IDF history. Justice Goldstone hit the IDF hard; he forced it to change its commander.
Major General Benny Gantz was the IDF military attaché in Washington, when days before the UN approved the Goldstone Report he was appointed the IDF Deputy Chief of Staff and his fate changed forever. Usually, getting the attaché position means getting an easy job before retiring from the IDF. Because he had been in Washington during the attack on Gaza, Gantz remained unstained by the shame of participating on such a brutal, savage event. He was promoted to lieutenant general and then given the IDF command.
However, he wasn’t given the job before he made his opinions clear. On January 31, 2010, Major General Benny Gantz – a former commander of Kingfisher – gave a highly controversial interview. It was clearly approved by the Israeli Administration, and probably requested by it. It is as if the last gave up, knowing there is nothing convincing it can say to fix the atrocities it committed in Gaza. Instead, it pulled out a prestigious general – at least in the eyes of the Jewish Israeli public – in an attempt to at least stop the damage to its image in the eyes of the Israeli voters.
In this interview, Gantz claimed the Cast Lead had been conducted in an ethical manner. Then he claimed, in a very clumsy attempt to justify the IDF crimes, that the same physicians that were in Gaza were later in Haiti as if that changed anything; this last statement clearly shows an inability to think logically or a Machiavellian attempt to confuse his listeners. Let me state that in other words: Benny Gantz claimed that firing white phosphorous artillery on a hospital was an ethic action.
The list of Israeli crimes in Gaza is long. I could rephrase this in many different ways, each time mentioning a different Israeli atrocity. Major General Benny Gantz clearly cannot differentiate between good and evil. If that wasn’t enough, he attacked Justice Goldstone on religious grounds. He said that since the judge is of Jewish background and is criticizing the State of Israel, then he is a Trojan Horse taking advantage of his position in the international legal system.
After all, Gantz is definitely not gallant.
Fearlessly, Gantz is attacking Jerusalem from the right. He has little interest in Gaza, and probably would work hard to stay as clean as he was during Operation Cast Lead. Right now, he has portrayed himself as the true defender of the people. By announcing the situation with Hamas has deteriorated and demanding a new Operation Cast Lead, he has created a negative image of the Israeli administration. In the eyes of the Israeli public, Gantz is offering a solution to an acute problem, while Netanyahu sits hesitant in his Jerusalemite bunker.
Israel has no external policy; everything must be analyzed there on grounds of internal struggles for power. This case is not different. Benny Gantz has declared himself heir to the throne. Benny Gantz, dressed as Angel of Light (2 Corinthians 11: 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light) would attack Hamas in such a fashion, that either Hamas, or another IDF general would be blamed for the next massacre. Hamas, get ready for war!