PMO panel to recommend responses to Goldstone Report

PMO panel to recommend r

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October 28, 2009 00:49
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The Prime Minister's Office formally announced on Tuesday the establishment of a committee to consider various ways to deal with the allegations in Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, even while reiterating that IDF officers and soldiers will not be questioned. The committee will be made up of Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz; IDF Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Mandelblit; the Foreign Ministry's legal adviser Ehud Kenan, the Defense Ministry's legal adviser Ahaz Ben-Ari, and Cabinet Secretary Zvi Hauser. The committee is to submit its recommendations to Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a "short period," and then if necessary - according to a PMO statement - the recommendations will be taken to the cabinet for approval. It is widely assumed that this body will name a judicial figure to head a panel that will review the internal IDF investigations of alleged wrongdoings in Gaza, and determine whether those investigations - some which have been completed, and some which are still ongoing - were sufficiently thorough. One name that has been mentioned as a candidate to head that panel is former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak. Shortly after the PMO issue its statement, Netanyahu's office called reporters and in an indication of the sensitivity of the issue, reiterated the premier's position that IDF soldiers and officers would not be questioned. Barak's office then issued a statement of its own, quoting the defense minister as saying, "no committee will be set up that will probe IDF officers or soldiers. Period." While some ministers have advocated an inquiry committee following the Goldstone Report, largely as a way of blunting international criticism, Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi have adamantly come out against any such inquiry, saying the IDF has the tools to investigate itself.

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