Former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who appears to be a leading candidate to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the upcoming elections, continues to refrain from expressing his views – which appears to appeal to many potential voters.
However, Israel’s Channel 20, which is affiliated with Israel’s right-wing, on Sunday cited a speech Gantz carried in 2015, shortly after his discharge from the IDF, in which he said that during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, he risked Golani brigade soldiers for fear of harming the residents of Shuja’iyya.
Ganz referred to an event that included the Golani Brigade at Wafa Hospital in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood of Gaza City, and said, “I was there. During the battle, Golani was situated below the hospital there was fire from inside the hospital. We warned the hospital directors in advance. We made sure no one was inside. I was there myself, and yet I told the commanders: Wait.”
“Once again, we asked the directors to let everyone out, and only then did I give permission to attack,” the former chief of staff said. “We did not harm civilians, but we endangered Golani soldiers for this purpose.”
The Battle of Shuja’iyya between the IDF and Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on July 20, 2014, took place in the Shuja’iyya neighborhood, with 92,000 people living in an area of 2.3 square mile, perhaps the most densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip.
According to the IDF, the neighborhood had become a “terrorist fortress,” which between July 8 and 20 fired more than 140 rockets into Israel. The UN Protection Cluster stated that between July 19-20, 55 civilians, including 19 children and 14 women, were killed as a result of the IDF’s actions.
Despite Gen. Gantz’s best intentions, the UN, US, and UN condemned the IDF’s tactics in that battle, and said they were ” particularly appalled by the human cost of the Israeli military operation in Shuja’iyya,” which they found “indefensible.”