The Military Advocate General said Wednesday that he would not launch a criminal investigation into the events of August 1, 2014, when during Operation Protective Edge, the IDF invoked the so-called Hannibal Protocol after Lt. Hadar Goldin was kidnapped during a humanitarian ceasefire.
During the events that became known as Black Friday, the IDF launched massive aerial and artillery strikes as soldiers conducted a desperate search for Goldin who was still believed to be alive. Some 42 terrorists were killed during the operation along with some 70 Gazan alleged non-combatants. Two other Israeli soldiers, Benaya Sarel and Liel Gidoni, were killed in the ambush. Goldin’s remains are still being held by Hamas, along with those of IDF officer Oron Shaul.
Military Advocate General Maj.Gen Sharon Afek said that as the assumption was that Goldin was still alive, the forces did not act out of a desire for revenge but to try and foil his kidnapping.
“The findings clearly indicate that IDF forces operated in order to foil the kidnapping of Lt. Hadar Goldin and to strike terrorist organizations operating in the area by attacking military targets and military operatives. The assumption at the time was that Lt. Goldin was still alive,” the IDF said in a statement.
“Fighting on the ground and use of artillery and shelling during the battle were based on operational considerations, while attempting as far as is possible to prevent harm to civilian non-combatants. We found no evidence to support the claims that invoking the Hannibal Protocol to rescue a kidnapped soldier led to the use of unproportional or unrestrained force.”
Amnesty International has accused the IDF of “war crimes in their relentless and massive bombardment of residential areas of Rafah in order to foil the capture of Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, displaying a shocking disregard for civilian lives.”