Three years after Operation Cast Lead, one last criminal investigation remains
open against former Givati Brigade commander Col. Ilan Malka, whose
military career is still engulfed in controversy and overshadowed by criminal
allegations after the Military Advocate General’s Office continues to drag its
feet in ruling on the case.
Egyptian official: We forbade large-scale Gaza operation
'A necessary operation'
Malka served as commander of the Givati
Brigade during Operation Cast Lead, which was launched on December 27,
Former military advocate general (MAG) Maj.-Gen. Avichai
Mandelblit – who retired earlier this year – decided to launch a criminal
investigation against Malka in early 2010 over allegations that he ordered an
airstrike on a building in Gaza despite allegedly knowing that it was occupied
The bombing under question took place on January 5, 2009,
during the ground offensive stage of the threeweek operation. Malka was
operating in northern Gaza and called in an airstrike of a home in Gaza City’s
Zeitoun neighborhood. The Air Force bombed the building resulting in the deaths
of 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 that civilians were inside the home.
Due to the
investigation, Malka’s promotion was put on hold and h e has served as chief
operations officer for the Central Command since. Other IDF officers who
commanded brigades during the operation – such as then- Paratrooper’s Brigade
commander Hertzi Halevy and then-commander of the 401st Armored Brigade Yigal
Slovik – have since been promoted to the rank of brigadier-general.
IDF Spokesman’s Office did not release an official response to inquiries from
The Jerusalem Post about the status of the investigation against
Sources said that it was in its “final stages” and would be
completed in the near future with a decision by Mandelblit’s replacement
Dani Efroni on whether charges will be brought against
Senior field commanders were critical of the MAG’s office which
they said was “dragging its feet” in concluding the investigation and enabling
Malka to continue his career in the IDF.
“Two years is a long time for an
investigation,” one senior IDF officer who is familiar with the case said
recently. “If the MAG plans to press charges then he should do that now and if
not, then Malka should be cleared of wrongdoing.”