Israeli general sacked for criticizing Lebanon offensive

5846_1.jpgIsrael’s army chief sacked a top general on Wednesday for criticizing the Israeli government’s policy and the military’s conduct during the recent offensive in Lebanon, the BBC reported.


The dismissed officer, Maj Gen Yiftah Ron-Tal, was fired by army chief of staff Lt Gen Dan Halutz for giving unauthorized interviews to Israeli news media and therefore breaching a ban on Israeli forces making public remarks on political or diplomatic issues, an army statement said. 


Ron-Tal told local news media on Wednesday that Gen Halutz must “accept responsibility” for the failure of Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon, which ended on August 14 after more than 1,200 Lebanese civilians were killed.


The Israeli army statement said “Israeli soldiers are forbidden to deal with political subjects and make public comments on political and diplomatic issues, and all the more so, it is forbidden for soldiers to publicly criticize the government.”


Ron-Tal was the commander of Israeli ground forces and was due to retire from the army in December.


He is the second Israeli general to leave the army over the conflict with Hezbollah. The commander of the northern sector, including the Lebanon border, Maj. Gen. Udi Adam, resigned after Halutz posted another general to monitor his command during the fighting.


The Israeli assault in Lebanon failed to achieve the goals stated by the government; crushing Hezbollah and releasing two captured soldiers. Instead, Hezbollah relentlessly fought the Israeli army, ambushing its ground forces and firing more than 4,000 rockets into Israel.


The Israeli government appointed a panel to probe the handling of the war by the Cabinet and the army, amid widespread criticism that has hurt Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s popularity and has led to many calls for Halutz’s resignation.

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