IDF Already Investigating Some Goldstone Allegations

Military advocate looking into 12 Palestinian claims of alleged civilian deaths, property destruction.

While the IDF is opposed, in principle, to setting up a committee of inquiry into the allegations against Israel made in the Goldstone Report on the fighting in the Gaza Strip, the military advocate general, Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit, has ordered investigations into a number of allegations, currently being carried out by the Military Police.

Mendelblit has ordered investigations into 12 incidents that were, even before the report, the focus of Military Police investigations or part of operational investigations. Two involved civilian deaths, based on Palestinian claims. In the 10 other incidents, Palestinians claimed their property had been destroyed. Coordination of the investigations is being handled by the chief of Military Police in the Southern Command, Lt. Col. Gil Mamon. Mendelblit is part of a team of senior legal experts the government established last week to formulate recommendations on dealing with the report. The findings are to serve as the backbone for a counter-Goldstone report that is expected to be ready in a month.

One of Mendelblit's arguments against creating a committee of inquiry following the Goldstone Report is that such a committee has never been set up as a result of external pressure, and says that surrendering to international pressure will constitute a dangerous precedent.

In his view there is no reason for an internal investigation into the policy decided by the government and then implemented into legal orders. He does believe, however, that it is possible to carry out an investigation into specific incidents. According to the Goldstone Report, government policy - or the orders on the use of force - was allegedly to purposely violate Palestinian human rights in the Gaza Strip.

Mendelblit's starting point contradicts that of the Goldstone commission, and relies on a Supreme Court ruling on providing Gaza with electricity, which also determined that with the pullout from the Strip in 2005, Israel's occupation of the territory came to an end. As such, the military attorney general argues that IDF operations in the Gaza Strip should fall only within humanitarian international law and international law governing warfare, and not the law on human rights.