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Retired Israeli general suggests Syria attack timed for election effect

As elections approach, Israeli politicians are misleading the public about war crimes probes, and according to one general-turned-politician, about war itself.

(This analysis originally contained a previous section called, ‘Is the ICC running against Netanyahu in Israeli elections?’ It has been published as a separate article here.)

OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant in 2010. Galant recently announced that he is running for Knesset in the ‘Kulanu’ party. (Photo by IDF Spokesperson)

OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant in 2010. Galant recently announced that he is running for Knesset in the ‘Kulanu’ party. (Photo by IDF Spokesperson)

“War is merely the continuation of politics by other means.” — Carl von Clausewitz

Retired Israeli army general Yoav Galant suggested that Israel’s assassination of a senior Hezbollah commander and an Iranian general in Syria on Sunday might have been timed with electoral politics in mind.

Appearing as a guest commentator on Israel’s Channel 2 News, responding to the air strike in Syria earlier in the day, Galant told a story from his time heading the IDF’s Gaza command.

“If you look at the previous elections, [the timing of the assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed Jabari] wasn’t something that was possible only on that date.”

The Jabari assassination was the opening shot in 2012’s Operation Pillar of Defense in Gaza, which left over 150 Palestinians and six Israelis dead. It took place two months before Israel’s most recent elections.

“I was the commander of the [Southern Command] for five years before that and there were many, many opportunities in which it would have been possible to do it and I recommended as much, and for some reason it didn’t happen on those dates,” Galant continued.

Speaking about the assassinations in Syria on Sunday, Galant, who recently announced his own candidacy, suggested that election politics may be playing a role in the political-military decision-making behind the latest Israeli attack.

There are security needs and it should be assumed that those in charge are acting responsibly and seriously, he said. “However, you can learn from past events that sometimes the timing isn’t entirely unrelated to elections.”

Operation Cast Lead, which took place in Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, also immediately preceded Israeli elections.

A full cast of former military officials and politicians came out to reject Galant’s commentary. His accusations should, of course, be taken with a grain of salt. Galant, too, is in the middle of an election season.

Following the backlash, Galant went on Army Radio Monday morning and said he was just floating a scenario that “some people” might believe. “I don’t believe that there’s a connection between the two things,” he told Army Radio.

Related:
Palestine’s ICC bid is only as threatening as Israel makes it
Why Israelis should welcome Palestine’s ICC bid

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    COMMENTS

    1. Danny

      Israeli citizens will pay the price of this strike, not Netanyahu, Yaalon or Gantz. Israeli tourists abroad will likely be the victims in reprisal for this strike.

      Personally, I would have no issue with Hezbollah attacking Israeli military targets abroad, but civilian targets are much easier to hit.

      If I was an Israeli tourist, I’d avoid Israeli and Jewish locales abroad for the foreseeable future.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Terrorism Alert @ +972mag

        Danny the Terrorist, I have taken screenshot of your comment and reported it to the appropriate authorities. This is clearly and incitement to- and support for terrorism against Israelis civilians and soldiers and “Jewish locales abroad” and +972mag may not allow that comment to stand!

        Moderator, pls. take steps and remove the above terrorist comment for incitement, calling for- and/or supporting terrorism and violence.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          Another hysterical response. Danny was not advocating terrorism. He was pointing out that acts of Israeli violence often generate a response, and advocating that any such response should be against military targets, though conceding that that may not be the case. He could have backed his argument by saying that Israel adopts that same approach: when it faces ineffective rocket fire, in response to Israel’s provocative actions, the entire military-political establishments has no scruples about murdering hundreds of women and children as a reprisal and punishment. We wouldn’t want to have double standards would we?

          Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Bryan, you always get hysterical and psychotic each time you see Ginger Eis around. I have also seen comments from you on this site cheering and applauding sexual comments (e.g. by Ben Zakkai) posted on this site to Ginger Eis. What’s up with that, old man?

            “Personally, I would have no issue with Hezbollah attacking Israeli military targets abroad, but civilian targets are much easier to hit.” What part of that is too difficult for your to understand, you little old turd?

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “Ineffective rocket fire”, Bryan? Those “ineffective rockets” have killed men, women and children or rendered many more maimed and/or wheelchair-bound for life!

            “In the last war with Gaza in November 2012, the Iron Dome blocked almost 500 rockets – a total cost of $25 million”. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/10960091/The-Iron-Dome-what-is-it-and-how-does-it-work.html
            That’s how much Israel invests to protect her civilians: Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindu, etc from those “ineffective rocket fire”, you little old turd. Do you give a sh$t about civilians casualties in Gaza? No. You want Gaza to remain militarized, able to fire missiles into Israeli civilian populations and kill as many Jews as possible – to quench the daily demands of your rotten anti-Semitic mind. And if Israel invests more than any other country on earth to protect her civilians and effectively does so, you get hysterical and psychotic ranting about civilian casualties in Gaza and “ineffective rocket fire” originating from Gaza. Whats up with that, old turd?

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “Ineffective rocket fire”, Bryan? Those “ineffective rockets” have killed men, women and children AND rendered many more maimed and/or wheelchair-bound for life!

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “Ineffective rocket fire”, Bryan? Those “ineffective rockets” have killed men, women and children AND rendered many more maimed and/or wheelchair-bound for life!

            that’s a correction

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            So please tell me, over the entire history of Hamas firing its feeble home-made rockets from Gaza, how many Israelis have actually been killed? Do you disagree that the total – ever – is just 50 (according to BT’selem this is 48 from rockets, two from mortars (http://www.btselem.org/israeli_civilians/qassam_missiles#data). Obviously this is 50 too many but that is one-tenth of the number of the number of Gazan children killed in one brief Israeli onslaught. Why not offer us some statistics before you dish up all this crap?

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            More hysterical response from a psychotic old turd. And of course you have never ranted anywhere protesting those “50” dead Israelis.

            “In the last war with Gaza in November 2012, the Iron Dome blocked almost 500 rockets – a total cost of $25 million”.

            What part of that is too difficult to understand, you little old turd? Those are rockets diving into Israeli cities. Rockets heading towards open areas are not intercepted. Now, do the math, if you can, and tell us how many Israelis will be dead and/or maimed for life if those rockets had hit their targets? Do you care that children are deliberately put in harms way to have them killed and used as propaganda against Israel? No, because such propaganda is music to your deranged anti-Semitic mind. Do you give a sh$t about civilians casualties in Gaza? No. You want Gaza to remain militarized, able to fire missiles into Israeli civilian populations and kill as many Jews as possible – to quench the daily demands of your rotten anti-Semitic mind. And if Israel invests more than any other country on earth to protect her civilians and effectively does so, you get hysterical and psychotic ranting about “ineffective rockets” and “only 50 dead Israelis”, old little turd!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            You know perfectly well that these primitive weapons cannot be aimed accurately so your point about “had these rockets hit their targets” is nonsense. I have clearly condemned the killing of Israeli civilians (less than 50) killed by these rockets. Would you like to clearly and unequivocally condemn the killing of many, many times more innocent Palestinian children, let alone women, old people and male non-combatants. Please feel absolutely free to do so …….. I shall wait patiently.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “You know perfectly well that these primitive weapons cannot be aimed accurately so your point about “had these rockets hit their targets” is nonsense”.

            Right there, Bryan, you provided just one of the reasons why I call you a psychotic turd. Those 500 “feeble homemade rockets” would have – with 100% scientific certainty – exploded inside neighborhoods, high rise buildings, houses, restaurants, etc. blowing men, women and children to bits or knocked civilian planes landing at BGI off the air with hundreds of casualties, if they were not intercepted. Here is a demonstration of your “primitive weapons” that kill in a “primitive” manner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAjInyx-jUw. Of course you have to claim that you condemn the killing of Israel just because I have pointed out that you never ever did so before. You have a need to come across as “fair” and that’s a standard behavior to mask ones hate and foolishness.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I’m still waiting …. very patiently …. for you to condemn the senseless deaths of so many Palestinian children. I absolutely condemn the deaths of less than 50 Israeli civilians in the whole history of Palestinian rocket attacks, but as for any regret from you that many, many, many more times entirely innocent Palestinian children, adolescents, women, old men, adult civilians have been killed by Israeli shells, missiles, bombs etc …. we are still waiting – waiting – waiting.

            You know perfectly well that these missiles usually land in open areas, seldom cause damage, and very rarely cause death. If compared with the armaments in Israel’s arsenal would you say they have one-hundredth of the lethal power or is it one-thousandth. Let me know when you state your regrets about citizens of all nationalities being pointlessly killed in this pointless conflict.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Another hysterical rant. If you cared about the innocent civilian casualties in Gaza, you should FIRST demand that Hamas and Islamic Jihad (1) stop firing missiles into Israeli civilian population centers from within Palestinian civilian population, (2) stop using Palestinian women and children as human shield, (3) stop putting Palestinian women and children in harm’s way for the single purpose of using their deaths as propaganda against Jews. If you cared about the innocent civilian casualties in Gaza, you should FIRST (4) demand the demilitarization of Gaza and (5) stop using Palestinian deaths to libel Israel, because that’s exactly the reason they were sacrificed and your are supporting that by playing along. Hamas and Islamic Jihad are the primary cause of Palestinian deaths. Your hysterical rants: “I absolutely condemn the deaths of less than 50 Israeli civilians in the whole history of Palestinian rocket attacks” is nothing but yet another proof that you are a childish, psychotic old turd that thinks that this is a “condemnation competition” in which he who yells the most: “I most absolutely and most categorically condemn everything” wins the day. What a turd!

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            You still don’t get it with regard to the “ineffective rockets”, do you, little old turd? The missiles heading to “open space” are NOT intercepted. The 500 intercepted missiles are the ones heading towards homes, civilian buildings, etc. the Iron Dome makes the calculations with 100% scientific certainty, know which missiles to intercept and which ones not. Over 3milion Israelis living in the South fled their homes. How oft would it have to be said before your understand that about your “ineffective rockets”, assuming you are not too senile to still understand, old turd? Your anger and frustrations have everything to do with the fact that your Hamas brethren are not able kill as many Jews as possible with their missiles – to quench the daily demands of your rotten anti-Semitic mind. Israel invests hundreds of billions to protect her civilians and effectively does so, and that gets hysterical ranting about “ineffective rockets” and “only 50 dead Israelis”, you psychotic old turd!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            No – you have not seen comments from me cheering and applauding sexual comments directed at that good lady – on one occasion I simply said that Ben Zakkai was more amusing than any of the other insolent, inarticulate, fanatical posters on this site, and I think once I called the delightful lady a dominatrix, because that was how her bullying, blustering, domineering, self-righteous, patronizing, holier-than-thou, haughty, supercilious, arrogant, shameless, tyrannical approach came across to me. You may be in awe of her greater intelligence but that would be unsurprising – others will regard her as uncompromising, intransigent, self-opinionated, relentless and lacking in all human qualities, especially empathy, tolerance and mutual respect.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            That a retired old man like you, Bryan, finds sexual comments posted by Ben Zakkai to Ginger Eis “amusing” (and that’s “cheering and applauding” btw), says a lot about who you are: a rotten old man! And your latest tirade and rants are in- and of themselves proof that Ginger Eis has had profound effect on you and your ilk with her in-your-face, hard hitting arguments, which she executes with unapologetic, arrogant brilliance. How else could anyone explain these extremely remarkable strong feelings which you have about Ginger and so meticulously wrote down here for all of us to read and stand aghast? Wow, Bryan, how did Ginger Eis manage to have this much power over you to instill such strong feelings in your heart? Mamamia! You and Brian really do have serious issues. This is heavy stuff, folks. I am still trying to make sense of it all. Just wow.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I’m still waiting Icat – if we could understand that you value all human life, then your arguments (not of course your insults) might be worthy of some sort of respect.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            You still don’t get it, do you, old little turd? Israel has every right under any law to protect her civilian population from terrorist wars coming from Gaza. The death of any innocent Palestinian resulting from Israeli self-defense acts are most tragic and most regrettable. You on the other hand won’t demand the end of- but instead support (1) firing missiles into Israeli civilian population centers from within Palestinian civilian population, (2) using Palestinian women and children as human shield, (3) putting Palestinian women and children in harm’s way for the single purpose of using their deaths as propaganda against Jews, of which YOU are part of as evidenced in your propaganda comments and (4) the demilitarization of Gaza. As said, I have been sizing you up for a while now and have come to the only conclusion that you are an old anti-Semitic turd – just like your viperous ilk and countryman David Icke.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            and (4) the continued militarization of Gaza.

            …the above is a correction…

            Reply to Comment
          • Jesse

            I would like a condemnation of all the Palestinian civilians killed by the Israeli military as well.

            Whats wrong? Can’t you object to their senseless killing? Are you not willing to protest against indiscriminate fire directed at civilians like we do?

            Reply to Comment
        • M- Daif

          I domy understand the doubble standards that we face and continue to do is the year 2015. If Israles name come up with iut the use of the word “support” then its inciting acts of terrisom. While we are just statting the facts. Israli goverment acts foolishly and ppl will act accordingly . Hold your goverment responsible then take snap shots if anything u want…..

          Reply to Comment
    2. Ginger Eis

      Yoav Galant has retracted his direct statement and denied having ever intended to mean and/or imply that Syria strike was politically motivated

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/galant-retracts-comment-implying-lebanon-strike-political/

      “Asked on Monday morning about his comments of the previous day, Galant told Army Radio: “I didn’t say that and I don’t intent to say something like that. I just said that sometimes someone can bring that up in their mind. I don’t bring that up in my mind.”

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bar

      Galant has now demonstrated that he is not fit to take a senior role involving defense in a future government. This is simply irresponsible of him, particularly since he is out of the army and has no access to the intelligence work that brought about this attack.

      Reply to Comment
      • Felix Reichert

        Speaking the truth is the most irresponsible thing in the world.

        If you’re a Zionist.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          Please demonstrate that he was speaking the truth. Or that he can demonstrate that he was speaking the truth.

          Reply to Comment
          • Pedro X

            Here is what Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, former Shin Bet chief, said:
            “There is no doubt that when an operation like this rises to levels of national significance, all the consequences must be checked and weighed”, Peri said, adding that such conspiratorial thinking does not play into his understanding of the motives behind the Sunday operation. “I believe there is no political connection.”

            Though he lauded the tactical circumstances of the strike, Peri also stated that there is an emotional element for Hezbollah in losing such high ranking figures and that the consequences of such a powerful blow must be weighed by the security establishment and not taken lightly.

            Speaking on the prime minister, Peri claimed that while he diverges on diplomatic decisions, when it comes to strategic decisions he trusts Netanyahu.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Look, increasingly diplomatic and strategic decisions are merging or are one and the same. This is because…


            In contrast to a military confrontation in which Israel is assured the upper hand, in an internationally-mediated dispute Israel and the Palestinians have equal footing. Within such a framework Israel may lose its monopoly over managing the diplomatic process or over any other dealings with the Palestinian Authority.

            Israel should not be surprised by the Palestinian appeal to the ICC. The Palestinians openly stated their intention of doing so even before requesting that the United Nations recognize a Palestinian state. The front along which Mahmoud Abbas has chosen to confront Israel presents a new strategy, diplomatic and not military, which will grant the Palestinians a status that is equal to that enjoyed by other states.

            However, this front was not preordained. Israel could have avoided it had it realized in time that not all the cards were up its own sleeve, and if Israel had seriously addressed peace negotiations and strengthened Abbas, viewing him as a serious partner and abiding by its commitments to him, including prisoner release and refraining from unilateral steps such as settlement expansion.”

            http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.637803

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Bar: You are reversing standards of evidence. Felix does not have to demonstrate that Galant was speaking the truth. It is you that has to demonstrate that there was no truth to what Galant said. You know and I know that Galant was in part speaking the truth and in part electioneering. Let’s not pretend. In fact, Galant’s own words have all been framed in careful half truths. But half of a whole is half, not zero.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Brian, it is called ‘burden of proof’ not “standard of evidence” which is something else, idiot, and the universal rule is that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the plaintiff/claimant – in this case: Felix Reichert. Go find something useful to do with your life, Brian. Start with finding a job.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Brian, it is called ‘burden of proof’ not “standard of evidence” which is something else, idiot, and the universal rule is that the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the plaintiff – in this case: Felix Reichert. Go find a job, Brian.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Mikesailor

      Ginger you are such a waste of skin. Danny didn’t condone or excuse any actions, he merely predicted the likely ramifications of Hezbollah and/or Iranian actions considering their people were just murdered by Israeli drones. He is probably right. Just as I can predict that within the next few days Israeli Jews will again murder at least one unarmed Palestinian, and the killing will either not be investigated; or it will be investigated by incompetents who make Inspector Clouseau look like Sherlock Holmes. Of course the assassination was done with the elections in mind. Otherwise why antagonize Iran, which last I heard you had nor declared war against beside the bluster and bluff of Bibi, or Hezbollah which has been keeping the peace? Because waving the blood of those not fighting back helps gain votes from a bloodthirsty and frightened Jewish electorate?

      Reply to Comment
    5. Yeah, Right

      “You will also not hear that the Israeli government-appointed Turkel Commission wrote a detailed playbook on how to avoid ending up in the ICC docket, which Israel has almost entirely ignored.”

      Well, yeah, there’s a very good reason why the Israeli govt ignored that.

      After all, according to your link the very first recommendation was:
      “The Ministry of Justice should initiate legislation for all international criminal law offenses that do not have a corresponding domestic offense in Israeli criminal law”

      That recommendation is poison for any Israeli govt, precisely because one of the int’l war crimes that is recognized by the ICC is:
      “The transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies,”

      That can hardly be written into Israeli criminal law, for reasons that should be obvious to everyone.

      Much better to avoid the entire subject, because by doing so it places that particular war crime outside the jurisdiction of Israeli criminal courts.

      Unfortunately for Bibi, that also has the corresponding effect of putting that war crimes squarely within the jurisdiction of the ICC.

      If this gets to court Netanyahu is toast, because there is no way he can beat that rap.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Viktor Arajs

      The attack on sovereiegn Syria was a warcrime of massive proportions. I am hoping that President Obama will announce at his state of the Union address that he is finally convinced to break diplomatic relations with Israel

      Reply to Comment
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