BennettAmos Ben-Gershom (GPO)

Alternate Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke to US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides Wednesday in response to calls from the American government for Israel to review and possibly change its rules of engagement following the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh.

"The IDF is the most moral army in the world, I am not ready to lose soldiers in vain. American intervention in the rules of engagement of the IDF is a dangerous and unacceptable precedent," Bennett told Nides.

Yesterday, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters: "We will continue to press Israel directly and closely at the senior-most levels to review its policies and practices on this to ensure that something like this doesn't happen again in the future."

Israel's leaders have rejected the State Department's statement.

Speaking to Naval graduates Wednesday, Prime Minister Yair Lapid said: "I will not allow an IDF soldier that was protecting himself from terrorist fire to be prosecuted just to receive applause from abroad. No one will dictate our rules of engagement to us, when we are the ones fighting for our lives. Our soldiers have the full backing of the government of Israel and the people of Israel."

Similarly, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said today: “The IDF’s Chief of the General Staff, and he alone, determines, and will continue to determine the rules of engagement in accordance with our operational needs and values of the IDF. These instructions are implemented in a strict manner by soldiers and their commanders. There has not been, and there will not be any political involvement in the matter. IDF troops have my full backing in their mission to protect the citizens of Israel."