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ashkenazi GOOD 311.(Photo by: IDF Spokesperson)
Ashkenazi recruits for report rebuttal
IDF chief tries to enlist NATO generals to reject Goldstone findings.
The fight against the Goldstone Report moved to the military arena on Tuesday as IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi used his participation at a NATO conference in Brussels to convince his counterparts to reject the anti-Israel findings.

On Thursday, Israel is expected to submit a rebuttal to the Goldstone report to United Nations Sec.-Gen. Ban Ki-Moon. As reported earlier this week in The Jerusalem Post, Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Ehud Barak support the establishment of a judicial investigative panel to review internal IDF investigations of alleged wrongdoings during Operation Cast Lead last winter and to determine whether those investigations were thorough.

On Tuesday, Ashkenazi met with his Australian and Spanish counterparts and on Wednesday he is scheduled to hold talks with Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen as well as his French, Canadian and British counterparts.

Ashkenazi spoke about the Iranian threat, the need to crack down on weapons smuggling throughout the region as well as the need to boost cooperation between the IDF and NATO against the global terrorist threat. During his meetings, he also presented the military chiefs with a counter-Goldstone kit that included IDF's probes into the war crimes allegations leveled against it by Goldstone.

"We are trying to turn some of these [military chiefs] into our ambassadors," said one senior officer accompanying Ashkenazi.

Israeli-NATO ties have increased dramatically in recent years. Chairman of the Military Committee, Adm. Giampaolo Di Paola visited Israel in November and the Israeli Navy has announced plans to deploy a missile ship with Active Endeavour, a NATO mission to patrol the Mediterranean Sea and prevent terror and weapons smuggling later this year.

Israel is also seeking to receive an upgraded status following the conclusion of a Strategic Concept review the military alliance is currently conducting. The upgrade will enable Israeli officials to participate in top NATO forums even though Israel is not a member of the alliance.
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