'Take a decision out of concern for the pure souls that are in that accursed place'

Fallen soldier’s brother urges PM to take firm stand on Gaza

Brother of Matan Gottlieb, who was killed on Wednesday, tells Netanyahu to ‘either leave Gaza or destroy it’

Yifa Yaakov is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Sgt. Matan Gotlib (photo credit: Facebook)
Sgt. Matan Gotlib (photo credit: Facebook)

The brother of a soldier who was killed in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make a firm decision on the continuation of the 26-day campaign, criticizing him for what he called the lack of firm resolve that was costing the lives of dozens of soldiers.

Omer Gotlib, the brother of St.-Sgt. Matan Gotlib, who was killed in clashes in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, said Friday the prime minister’s inability to decide whether he wanted the conflict in the Gaza Strip to be resolved by diplomacy or force was causing losses among the IDF soldiers who were deployed to the coastal enclave in recent weeks.

Gotlib, who described himself as a left-wing Meretz voter who had never supported Netanyahu’s party, Likud, implored the prime minister in a message he wrote on his official Facebook page, picked up by Walla News, to “stop being a politician” and either leave Gaza or destroy it.

“I ask you to take the children out of Gaza and turn to diplomacy — or just stop being afraid of the world and turn Gaza into rubble.”

Urging the prime minister not to take the international community’s opinion into account, Gotlib added, “I’m not afraid of the boycott to come. My countrymen are more important than a few opinions in the faraway, distant world.”

He said that if Netanyahu decides to take over Gaza, it should be done “if not pleasantly, then with full force — without soldiers, only bombs weighing ton upon ton.”

“Just don’t let the erosion and attrition continue,” he implored the prime minister. “Stop being a politician, and be a leader. Make a decision free of outside interests, just out of concern for the pure souls that are in that accursed place, which rivals the Dead Sea as ‘The Lowest Place in the World.’ Please, Benjamin.”

Gotlib’s younger brother, a 21-year-old native of Rishon Lezion, had served in the IDF’s elite Maglan Unit. He was laid to rest in the city’s military cemetery on Thursday evening.

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