Jonathan Edelstein #51 - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Ben Gurion
    • 19.09.05 | 19:24 (IDT)

    Dear Mr. Edelstein, The Israeli system can allow for a much more objective investigation of government misconduct, as it did in this case. The situation we are facing now is typically Israeli. At bottom, it may not be something you are used to. I will elaborate: The earlier response of the (Barak) government in 2000 was to form a "government" commission of inquiry to investigate the events. Such a commission has no subpoena powers and can indeed be used as a whitewash instrument (as a government investigating itself). The commission was not trusted by the families of the victims and the general Arab community in Israel, and they refused to give testimony. For this reason, the government was forced to establish a "state" commission of inquiry, which was the Or commission. By law, such a commission has subpoena powers (like the 9/11 commission in the US). Moreover, the members of the commission are appointed by the Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court, not by the government (Don't expect Separation of Powers in Israel.). Chairman Or himself was member of the Supreme Court (now retired). The families did trust and cooperate with this commission. Recommendations of a "state" commission, however, are not binding on the government, although they are ususally followed because of public pressure. You can see that Israel has done a good job investigating. Why have the recommendations not followed by the disciplinary board? I take it that this has to do with Likud politics now. It makes so little sense, as I indicate in post #29. The time now is to generate public pressure on the government to undo the wrong. Not to tolerate it. You may recall that following the Sabra/Chatilla incident, another "state" commission, the Kahan commission, recommended that the Defense Minister (A. Sharon) resign or be fired. Sharon refused to follow for a few days but was finally forced to resign. This can happen now. (I recognize that bringing indictments is different, but a new investigating group can be appointed.) BG

    from the article: No officers to face charges for October riots as ministry closes investigations
    First published 00:00 19.09.05 | Last updated 00:00 19.09.05
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