UN insists Israel bombed flour mill during Cast Lead
The criticism of Israel's response to the Goldstone report continued yesterday, as the UN said findings collected by them contradict Israeli claims that the Gaza flour mill was not hit by an aerial bombardment.
The Goldstone report contained claims that Israel intentionally bombed civilian installations and Palestinian infrastructure in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead.
Israel tried to refute these charges by disproving specific accusations in the report about such attacks.
One of the accusations in the Goldstone report stated that Israel bombed the flour mill in the Shati refugee camp. Israel responded by saying the mill was damaged only by tank shells fired during a battle with Hamas units operating in the area, and there was no aerial bombardment of the mill or attempt to deliberately damage it.
As a result of the Israel Defense Forces' findings, the Military Advocate General decided not to open a Military Police investigation into the matter.
But a United Nations expert told Haaretz yesterday that one of its bomb disposal teams reached the flour mill three weeks after the end of the operation and discovered the front part of an MK-82 500-pound bomb of the type used by the Israeli Air Force. The bomb disposal team neutralized the bomb's detonator and removed the bomb.
An IDF source denied the UN claims yesterday saying a thorough investigation by the air force found that no bombs were dropped on the mill and reconnaissance photos of the building do not show damage stemming from an air attack.
Senior reserve officers criticized the IDF yesterday for not revealing it had reprimanded two senior officers for exceeding their authority in using artillery during the operation.
The news of the disciplinary action against Gaza Division commander Brig. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg and Givati Brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka only came out last week as part of Israel's response to the Goldstone report.
Maj. Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, who served as the head of the Southern command at the start of the second intifada, surprised senior officers when he told Army Radio he blamed the tension between the regional commanders and the General Staff for the information on the matter not being released.
"Power struggles between Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva, Safed and I don't know where in the end harm the organization," Samia said. "It is clear, to my regret, that sometimes it is a battle for prestige."
Samia serves in the reserves as the deputy of Southern Command commander Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, who tried Eisenberg and Malka.
A senior officer said on Monday that the disciplinary action was an internal matter within Galant's office, and even the IDF Spokesman did not know about it.