IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz will decide in the coming weeks whether to promote Col. Ilan Malka, former commander of the Givati Brigade, who was exonerated on Tuesday from criminal charges in the closure of the last investigation into Operation Cast Lead.

Malka commanded the Givati Brigade during the Cast Lead offensive against Hamas in Gaza, which was launched on December 27, 2008.

The investigation against Malka focused on the bombing on January 5, 2009, during the ground offensive stage of the three-week operation, of a home in Gaza City’s Zeitoun neighborhood which killed 21 members of the Samouni family.

The case was highlighted in the Goldstone Report – which investigated alleged Israeli war crimes during the operation – and Mandelblit decided to launch a Military Police investigation almost two years ago to rule out the possibility that Malka ordered the strike while knowing civilians were inside.

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