Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scolded US Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Wednesday for requesting Secretary of State John Kerry to investigate Israel for alleged “gross violations of human rights” in a February letter leaked to Politico.
“The IDF and Israel Police do not engage in executions,” Netanyahu responded sharply. “Israel’s soldiers and police officers defend themselves and innocent civilians with the highest moral standards against bloodthirsty terrorists who come to murder them.”
“Where is the concern for the human rights of the many Israelis who’ve been murdered and maimed by these savage terrorists?” Netanyahu asked. “This letter should have been addressed instead to those who incite youngsters to commit cruel acts of terrorism.”
Leahy’s letter, dated February 17, 2016 and addressed to Kerry, requested that the State Department provide information on whether American aid to Israel and Egypt is contributing to “possible gross violations of human rights.” The letter, in effect, suggested that aid to Israel and Egypt would be illegal under the Leahy Law.
Netanyahu’s reaction comes on the same day as IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot issued a special memorandum to Israel’s armed forces clarifying its regulations on the use of force. “The fate of Israel depends on two things: its strength and its righteousness,” the memo quotes from David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister.
“We will continue to support any soldier who errs in the heat of battle,” Eizenkot continues, “but we will not hesitate to bring to justice soldiers and commanders who stray from our operational and moral standards.”