IDF Chief Defends Gaza War Probes After Vandals Deface Prosecutor's Home

'Traitor' sprayed across walls of Avihai Mendelblit's house in Petah Tikva after he opened investigations into soldiers' conduct in Gaza war.

Graffiti outside the Mendelblit home: "Mendelblit and Goldstone are traitors."
Graffiti outside the Mendelblit home: "Mendelblit and Goldstone are traitors." Moti Kimche

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, vandals sprayed graffiti on the Petah Tikva home of Military Advocate General Avihai Mendelblit, including the word "traitor."

The graffiti compared Mendelblit to Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the United Nations commission that charged Israel and Hamas with committing war crimes during Israel's three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip in the winter of 2008-2009.

Flyers were placed on cars near Mandelblit's home that stated: "Mendelblit, don't interfere with our fighting" and "Take your hands off Israeli soldiers".

This was the second recent incident of vandalism at Mendelblit's home, prompting IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi to a directive to all soldiers late Wednesday in which he stressed the importance in investigating alleged misconduct during the Gaza War.

"It is our legal and moral obligations as the army of a Jewish and democratic state, which respects the rule of law, to investigate any claim of unlawful conduct by our personnel," Ashkenazi wrote.

Mendelblit's recent decisions to open investigations into soldiers and officers for actions inconsistent with international law have aroused criticism in various circles.

About a year ago, Mendelblit ordered the strengthening of charges against Lt. Col. Omri Borberg and a soldier involved in firing at a bound Palestinian demonstrator in Ni'ilin. Borberg was convicted of ordering the soldier to fire during the incident that took place a year and a half ago.

On Wednesday morning, the sentencing phase of the trial of Borberg began.