Daily Israel Report

Gantz Responds to Criticism on Fleeing Soldiers Video

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that “the IDF is ready for all eventualities, although we are not hungry for blood."
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/12/2012, 7:50 AM

candle ighting
candle ighting
Gershon Alinson

In his official reaction to a recent video uploaded to Youtube that shows IDF soldiers running from a mob of Arab rock throwers, rather than use their weapons to defend themselves, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz said that “the IDF is ready for all eventualities, although we are not hungry for blood. Unfortunately in the recent operation in Gaza, there were some people who were killed who were not terrorists. In the future, we will continue to avoid hurting civilians.”

In the video that was released to Youtube over the weekend, IDF soldiers are seen running for cover as an Arab mob pelts them with stones and bricks. The soldiers are equipped with weapons, but they do not use them – and instead flee from a mob of Arab youths and adults, brandishing not their guns, but shields to protect them from the stones thrown by the mob.

The incident in the video took place in recent days in Shechem. Three IDF soldiers were injured in the incident, with one sustaining an injury to his hand, and another a wound to his head. A third soldier was injured when a smoke grenade he was about to throw blew up in his hand. The three were being treated at a hospital in Petach Tikvah. The incident was similar to another one that took place in Hevron last week, when IDF soldiers battled Palestinian Authority police and rioting Arabs. IDF officials said they considered the incident “serious,” and that an investigation had been opened.

The video has garnered a firestorm of criticism from Israelis, who are demanding that the IDF loosen its restrictions on rules regarding how and when soldiers can return fire against rioters who attack them with life-threatening rocks and bricks. IDF officials said that the incident was being investigated.

Gantz made the statement Tuesday during a candle lighting ceremony with President Shimon Peres