Sources: Gantz Didn’t Know About Gaza Border Troop Pullout

January 1, 2015  

It was revealed Thursday that IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz had no idea the army was planning to remove soldiers and military patrols from communities along the Gaza border.

The army announced Tuesday their intentions to remove forces from communities that are not located near the security fence with Gaza, in an effort to save manpower and money, before backtracking on the idea Wednesday after heads of communities in the area protested.

On Thursday, sources said that the decision was taken not under the advisement of Gantz, but by IDF personnel in the Gaza border area. The decision was made, according to the sources, by Colonel Itay Yogev, commander of the Gaza Brigade, along with his staff.

In announcing the decision Tuesday, the army said it had been made after evaluating the security situation, with the understanding that the IDF provides optimal security to the communities in the Gaza Belt, in coordination with the heads of the communities, the statement said.

“IDF forces are deployed in the area and are prepared for any scenario,” stressed the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

In protest, heads of the local communities in the Gaza Belt called for funding to be found which would allow the IDF to expand the border fence thereby providing better protection.

“We demand that the Defense Ministry and the Prime Minister immediately fund the project to build a fence throughout the Gaza Belt – from the sea to Kerem Shalom,” they said.

According to the sources, IDF local commanders are given leeway to change the deployment of forces without informing the CoS. In this case, they said, Gantz decided to intervene because of the sensitivity of the issue.

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