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Israel’s military probes video appearing to show reservist calling for mutiny against defense minister

The Israeli military said it was launching an investigation Saturday after a video was posted on social media that appeared to show a reservist calling for a mutiny against the country’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The behavior documented in the video, which was shared on Telegram by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus 32-year-old son Yair, was a “serious violation of IDF orders and IDF values, and constitutes a suspicion of criminal offences,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.

“In regard to the incident, the Chief of Military Advocate General Corps ordered the opening of an investigation by the Military Police Criminal Investigation Division,” the statement added. “At the same time as the investigation, in view of the seriousness of the incident, the Chief of Staff ordered an immediate command dialogue at all levels.”

The video shows a man in military fatigues holding what appears to be an automatic rifle and standing in the rubble of what looks like a partially destroyed building. Blue graffiti is behind him and what appear to be burn marks are strewn across the ceiling.

His nose and mouth were covered by a black mask as he delivered his message, which he said was for Benjamin Netanyahu.

“We the reserve soldiers do not intend to hand over the keys to any Palestinian Authority,” he said, adding that they would not cede power in Gaza to Hamas or Fatah, which governs the occupied West Bank.

Addressing Gallant directly, he said, “You cannot win a war. Resign. You cannot win the war, you cannot command us,” adding: “We will listen to one leader, and it is not the minister of defense, and it is not the chief of staff, it is the prime minister. Think carefully to whom you intend to give the keys after this.”

Yoav Gallant and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Yoav Gallant and Benjamin Netanyahu last year.Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Later in the video he told Gallant to “change your record, change the record and understand that we want to win, or we will go only with the prime minister. Only with whoever decides that we should win, we will follow him. Here I tell you, did you want a military coup?”

“We are the reservists who can no longer return home,” he added. “We will show you what a decision is, we will show you what a victory is, and we will show you how real Jews win.”

NBC News has not independently verified the video and has asked both Netanyahu’s office and Gallant for comment.

Addressing the post in a separate Telegram post, Yair Netanyahu wrote, “In light of the reactions to the reserve video circulating on the networks, let’s sort out the question of what a military rebellion is: An army that announces that in times of dispute it will obey only the government and the prime minister is not a rebel but on the contrary, it is an army that obeys the law.”

A member of Netanyahu’s war Cabinet and also his conservative Likud party, Gallant, 65, rose to become one of the most senior commanders in the military after starting his service as a navy frogman.

But he has not always seen eye to eye with Netanyahu, who sacked him last year after Gallant broke ranks to call for a halt to plans to curb the power of the judiciary amid widespread protests across Israel. After hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets in spontaneous demonstrations, Gallant was reinstated.

Two days after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, Gallant faced widespread criticism after suggesting that the price Gaza would pay “will change reality for generations” and Israel would impose a total blockade with a ban on food and fuel imports as part of a battle against “human animals.”

Last week, Gallant appeared to challenge Netanyahu again when he said the prime minister should not try to establish military or civilian rule in Gaza and instead commit to Palestinian rule.

As recently as February, Netanyahu said Israel must have security control over all land west of the River Jordan, which would include the territory of any future Palestinian state, a move backed by Israeli lawmakers.

The video marks the end of a bad week for both after ICC Chief Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan said he was filing applications for arrest warrants for both Netanyahu and Gallant as well as Hamas’ Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar, military chief Mohammed Deif and political leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The move to issue warrants for the Israeli leaders was denounced by President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Then on Friday, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to immediately halt its military assault on Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah. The top United Nations court cited an “immediate risk” to Palestinians, noting that more than 800,000 people had been forced to flee Rafah since Israeli forces began ground operations in an area that had once been declared a safe zone.

Israel has indicated it would not accept a court order to end the war against Hamas. Netanyahu was meeting with legal advisers to review the ruling, an Israeli official told NBC News.

Hamas, meanwhile, welcomed the decision, saying it expected the ICJ to issue a similar decision for the whole of the Gaza Strip and not just Rafah.

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