Following the war’s end, reserve soldiers and officers called for his resignation, due to his miserable failure as head of a powerful military, defeated by a relatively small guerilla group. Half a year after his failure in Lebanon, and while the Winograd Commission has not yet issued the conclusions of its official inquiry on the Lebanon war, Dan Halutz decided to anticipate the expected recommendations and resign.
The fact that this man will no longer command the Israeli military, however, is certainly not enough. He must also be put on trial for war crimes, as Yesh Gvul, the reserve soldiers movement, has been petitioning the Israeli Supreme Court to do for more than three years.
He must be put on trial for the numerous war crimes committed in Lebanon under his command, and particularly the bombing of cities, villages, and car convoys of civilians trying to escape the combat zones, as well as for the bombing of electric power plants and other Lebanese civilian infrastructure.
But, more specifically, for his decision, in July 2002, to bomb a residential building in Gaza, where dozens of civilians, including many children, lost their lives; a building in which military intelligence had located Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh. The massacre of the Daraj neighborhood in Gaza that day, is only one of many such war crimes, but it will be remembered as a special event because of the reaction of Halutz. When interviewed by the Israeli media about the many civilian casualties, he explained that he felt no remorse or anything else, outside “a slight tremor in the wing of the airplane,” at the very second the bomb was dropped.
Let’s hope that in every civilized country, an arrest order against this monster is ready for the moment he will dare to step out the borders of Israel and attempt to enter another country. Despite the efforts of Yesh Gvul activists, the chance of seeing Halutz on trial for war crimes in Israel is near nil.
The fact that several countries in Europe are taking seriously the responsibility of each and every state to prosecute war criminals, may one day bring him to justice. Or at least oblige Dan Halutz to be under a kind of “state arrest,” closed into the narrow borders of Israel, with the permanent fear of being arrested if he dares to show his cruel face somewhere else.