Officer in charge of prosecuting soldiers over Israeli operation in Gaza attacked once again: Graffiti reading "traitor" were discovered Wednesday morning near the home of the Israel Defense Forces' judge advocate general, Major-General Avichai Mandelblit, in Petah Tikva.
The writing "Mandelblit and Goldstone are traitors" was spray-painted on the house's wall, and additional graffiti were found in other areas in the neighborhood. The Petah Tikva Police have launched an investigation into the incident together with the Investigating Military Police, but have yet to arrest any suspects.
Leaflets protesting the conviction of two IDF soldiers for ordering a Palestinian child to open a suspicious bag during Operation Cast Lead were hung in the same area last week. "The judge advocate general lives in our neighborhood, but unlike the other children who risk their lives for us – Avichai is only disturbing," the leaflets said.
Following the recent attacks on Mandelblit, the army is considering – in an unusual move – stationing a guard outside his home in a bid to prevent similar incidents and give the officer and his family a sense of security. IDF major generals are not guarded on a regular basis.
Military officials fear that the attacks against the JAG will continue in the coming days. According to estimates, the people behind the attacks are radical elements and not
Military sources said a red line had been crossed. "There are ways to protest, but this is not one of them, especially not against an officer doing his job," one of them noted. "We must work to stop this phenomenon and judge those responsible severely."
Graffiti outside Mandelblit's house (Photo: Ofer Amram)
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response, "The multiple incidents against the judge advocate general are serious and dangerous, and should serve as a red light to all of us. The distribution of the leaflets, as well as the graffiti, are a clear attempt to terrorize a senior IDF office and prevent him from carrying out his job, while hurting the IDF and the rule of law.
"Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi backs the judge advocate general's activity and decisions, which are aimed at maintaining the IDF's rules, values and norms as an ethical army acting in accordance with the IDF's spirit, and fully condemns the attacks against the judge advocate general and his family members."
Some neighbors support act
Some of Mandelblit's neighbors said Wednesday that those who sprayed the graffiti "are right." One of the neighbors explained that the convicted soldiers "are simply serving the State. My son is in the army too and serves the State. Soldiers should not be prosecuted."
Another resident said the writings were "not nice," but added that "he should be considerate towards soldiers serving the State. On the one hand, it's his job, but on the other hand we are Jews. We must not let them do what they want, but the commanders should be the ones to be prosecuted – not them."
The two convicted fighters are awaiting their sentence, which is expected to be delivered next month. Another investigation is being held against then-Givati Brigade Commander Colonel Ilan Malka in regards to an incident in which he ordered the bombing of a building, which left 21 Palestinian family members killed.
Colonel (res.) Ilan Katz, the two soldiers' lawyer, told Ynet that the graffiti sprayed against Mandelblit was a cowardly act. "Regardless of the fact that this is a legal offense, this is no way to express an opinion against the judge advocate general's conduct. I fully denounce it."
Attorney Katz, who served as deputy JAG in the past, said he was convinced that the two fighters he represents and their friends who arrived to support them during the trial had nothing to do with the graffiti.
The issue of soldier's investigations has led to many expressions of support for the troops and criticism of the military advocate general for launching criminal proceedings against fighters instead of backing them.
Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to this report
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