Thursday, February 23, 2017

Politicians and military justice: the IDF Chief of Staff responds

Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot
Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, Chief of Staff of the IDF, has responded vigorously to comments by politicians figures on the case of Sgt. Elor Azaria, according to this Jerusalem Post report. Excerpt:
Speaking in a closed-door session of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Eisenkot blamed lawmakers for saying he had a direct effect on the Kfir Brigade combat medic’s trial and that he draws a clear line between the military justice system and the IDF hierarchy of command. 
He said there is a difference between an honest mistake made by a soldier, from which as a commander he should learn, and an act of negligence or moral failure that should not be backed. 
Eisenkot pointed fingers at those who said he interfered in the judicial process. “I was told that I have done things that I never have,” he was quoted as saying. “They gave me all sorts of nicknames and labels.” 
He also denied allegations that he had rushed to react to the incident, stating that his first comment came on a radio show several weeks after Azaria killed the already “neutralized” terrorist Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood on March 24, 2016. 
Eisenkot asked the politicians to refrain from involvement in the legal process, and reiterated that the military justice system has the proper mechanism to decide whether to pardon Azaria. 
It will act according to the correct procedure and not be influenced by populist politicians who are trying to score points among their constituents, he said.

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