IDF Chief of General Staff  Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi described the Goldstone Report as flawed and deceitful, and objected to the formation of an independent commission to investigate IDF officers and commanders.

Speaking to a forum of senior members of the general staff, the IDF chief said that “immediately following Operation Cast Lead we began to investigate ourselves in order to learn and to reach conclusions. We did this even before we heard of the name Goldstone. We are investigating and interrogating for ourselves and not for anyone else. We must contend with the challenges presented by this report, but not via a commission of inquiry.”

After months of opposition, the IDF chief and Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently modified their objections to the establishment of any independent commission, coming around to the idea of setting up a judicial investigative panel to review internal IDF investigations and determine whether they were thorough enough and lived up to accepted legal standards. However, they remain adamant in their demand that this commission not have the authority to examine officers and soldiers.

The IDF chief also presented to the forum his priorities for 2010, and said that the IDF must constantly improve its readiness for security tests.

Ashkenazi called on IDF commanders to speak with their subordinates in order to locate trouble spots and to prevent unwanted incidents from occurring, saying that “the position of commanders is not only relevant during war time but also during daily routine, in the field as well as headquarters.”

Gil Hoffman and Herb Keinon contributed to this report