Gantz expresses sorrow for Palestinian teen’s death; criticizes Netanyahu, Lapid

Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz speaks during a National Unity faction meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, December 12, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Outgoing Defense Minister Benny Gantz expresses sorrow over the death of a teenage Palestinian girl who was killed last night during a gun battle between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen in Jenin.

“First, I express my sorrow for her death, as for any death of someone who was not involved in terrorism, if that was indeed the case,” Gantz says at a faction meeting of his National Unity party.

He says the raid was aimed at arresting Palestinians suspected of recent shooting attacks and those involved in terror organizations.

Following the raid and fierce clashes, Jana Majdi Assam Zakarna, 16, was found dead on the roof of her home with a gunshot wound in the head.

“The matter is under investigation and I can assure you of one thing, unlike those who stand by the roads with weapons, stones, and Molotov cocktails, waiting for an opportunity to murder Israeli girls and boys, women, elderly and children, IDF soldiers do not shoot deliberately at uninvolved people,” Gantz says.

“The IDF will continue to act to thwart terrorism, anywhere and at any time, while adhering to the open-fire rules,” he says. “The commanders and soldiers have full support to continue to fulfill their mission with professionalism and determination.”

Also during the faction meeting, Gantz vows to work to thwart the likely incoming government “in every opportunity that arises,” but criticizes outgoing Prime Minister Yair Lapid for participating in a protest against the yet-to-be-formed next coalition, as well as for calling that expected government “insane.”

“Everyone can choose the way they defend democracy,” Gantz says. “The right to protest is important. Leaders should lead protests. I don’t think standing on a bridge in some corner is the model, but to each their own.

“Our camp doesn’t think the elected government is insane, crazy or lunatic — it thinks its extremism endangers the State of Israel,” Gantz says.

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