The army is considering releasing additional parts of a 1,000-page report it has put together to counter accusations leveled in the UN’s Goldstone Report against Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip.
The report was compiled by a team set up by IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.- Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi and led by Brig.- Gen. (res.) Yuval Halamish, a former chief intelligence officer in the IDF who coordinated the army’s work on the report with other government offices.
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During his work on the report, which was submitted to Ashkenazi in April, Halamish conducted a thorough review of 36 cases of alleged war crimes that the Goldstone Report accused the IDF of perpetrating, and found that a majority of them were baseless accusations.
Part of Halamish’s document was used by the Foreign Ministry in reports it submitted to the United Nations in January and July. IDF sources said the publication of a third report by the Foreign Ministry was under consideration, including updates from the ongoing Military Police investigations that the Military Advocate-General’s Office is overseeing.
“The report by Halamish basically debunks all of Goldstone’s accusations against the IDF,” a source familiar with the contents of the report said. “Its full publication would be beneficial for the State of Israel.”
The army investigated 400 complaints filed after Operation Cast Lead in 2009 and questioned more than 600 officers and soldiers, 20 of them under warning.
Out of the 400 complaints, 50 evolved into criminal investigations – led
by the Military Police – and three into indictments, most recently in
the case of two infantrymen from the Givati Brigade who were convicted
last month of exceeding their authority by ordering a nine-year-old
Palestinian boy to open bags they suspected might be booby-trapped
during the offensive in Gaza.
One ongoing investigation has to do with the bombing of a house in
northern Gaza that was approved by then-commander of the Givati Brigade
Col. Ilan Malka and which killed 21 members of the Samouni family. Malka’s
promotion has been put on hold due to the criminal investigation that
Military Advocate-General Maj.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit initiated several weeks ago.