Netanyahu betrayed Israeli Army: Opposition

Israel`s Opposition party Kadima has accused PM Benjamin Netanyahu of betraying the defence forces in his testimony to an inquiry commission looking into the May 31 deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Updated: Aug 10, 2010, 11:52 AM IST

Jerusalem: Israel`s opposition party Kadima
has accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of betraying the defence forces by turning them into a "punching bag" in his testimony to an inquiry commission looking into the May 31
deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

"Netanyahu`s testimony before the Turkel Commission
proves, once again, that there is no leadership," Kadima said
in a press release.

"At the moment of truth, he put the blame on others and
made the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) into a punching-bag," the
statement said.

When asked by former Supreme Court Justice Jacob Turkel,
who is heading the five member panel, whether it was the IDF
which decided the means by which to halt the flotilla,
Netanyahu said, "Yes, that`s standard procedure."

He also said it is the role of politicians "to determine
policy" while "it is up to the military to execute it."

"The IDF had always decided on the ways in which to
enforce the blockade [on Gaza] and has done its job well," the
Israeli leader said, adding that this was the "division of

When asked by the Commission how the decision on military
action was received, Netanyahu said that that all of those
involved "felt that the raid was a last resort, and the
instructions were to conduct it with as little friction as

"The IDF had looked into several options, as per my
instructions, but also according to the instructions of the
defence minister and the chief of staff."

Israeli naval commandos had stormed six aid ships trying
to bring supplies to Gaza, killing nine Turkish activists and
wounding several others on May 31.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Tzipi Livni has sent a
letter to Turkel asking to testify before the investigation

Livni explained that one of the Commission`s goals is to
determine the legality of Israel`s blockade on Gaza, which was
imposed in 2007 by the previous administration, of which she
was an integral part as the foreign minister.
The opposition Kadima leader said that the portion of the
Prime Minister`s testimony that was made public "didn`t
communicate, or didn`t correctly portray, the political and
security considerations behind the decision to impose the
blockade, and the need for it, as they were weighed by those
responsible for imposing it ? me included."

Bureau Report