Home > Diplomacy, Impunity > Yediot: Israel to launch Gaza war investigation to stem “political and economic tsunami” caused by the Goldstone report

Yediot: Israel to launch Gaza war investigation to stem “political and economic tsunami” caused by the Goldstone report

From an article in the the December 17 2009 edition of The Economist

Despite the indignation, well-placed Israeli observers said Israel, like other countries, would have no choice but to take account of the growing internationalisation of criminal justice when they plan their campaigns and their travels. A report by Richard Goldstone on the Gaza war for the UN Human Rights Council, published in September, and now Ms Livni’s brush with Britain’s legal system, were examples of a trend that Israelis could not ignore.

Indeed, even European pro-Israeli groups have initiated Gaza war related litigation based on universal jurisdiction and the Goldstone report.

This morning’s (December 28 2009) Yediot reports (full text after the cut) that Israel will now initiate it own investigation, in order to stem the “political and economic tsunami” caused by the Goldstone report.

After the international criticism comes the Israeli response. Within two weeks, the government is expected to establish a committee led by a well-known jurist in order to investigate violations of the law during Operation Cast Lead.

The investigative committee’s powers, will however, be limited.

It looks as though the committee that will be established will not have the power to initiate proceedings against soldiers, commanders or politicians, but only to draw system-wide conclusions and make recommendations.

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to dampen the drive for an international investigation.

An investigation to serve foreign policy

Tova Tzimuki and Itamar Eichner, Yediot, December 28 2009 [page 9]

After the international criticism comes the Israeli response. Within two weeks, the government is expected to establish a committee led by a well-known jurist in order to investigate violations of the law during Operation Cast Lead.

Over the past several days, discussions have been held among the upper echelons of the IDF, the Justice Ministry and the political echelon in order to notify the UN secretary general by the end of January of the Israeli answer to the Goldstone report. The report demanded the investigation of problematic incidents, as he described them, during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip a year ago.

Defense Minister Barak and Chief of Staff Ashkenazi applied a great deal of pressure, which won the support of Prime Minister Netanyahu against the establishment of an external investigative committee to probe the events of the operation in Gaza. Recently, it was learned that the defense minister had softened his position against establishing the committee. “Barak realizes that Israel’s problem isn’t with internal public opinion,” high-ranking political sources said. “The Goldstone report has created a political and economic tsunami, from problems with trips abroad by politicians and officers to boycotting Israeli goods in European supermarkets.” The withdrawal of Barak’s opposition to the establishment of a committee is now expected to allow the government’s decision to do so.

Until the beginning of the Goldstone commission’s work, Attorney General Meni Mazuz also believed that the IDF would be able to suffice with pinpoint checks of excessive and disproportionate use of force. At the end of the operation, when the complaints arrived about harm to civilians by the IDF, Mazuz ordered the army to hold immediately inquiries. However, since the Goldstone report demanded the establishment of an independent investigative committee, Mazuz transferred the emphasis to another plane of activity entirely.

A security-legal official said that Mazuz’s solution is to create a trustworthy legal agency directed by a well-known jurist that will serve as a counterweight to the Goldstone report. A political official said yesterday that Israel was in a trap. “While the establishment of the committee is intended to serve the needs of foreign policy,” the official said, “it is impossible to establish a committee with a good reputation if it is not given broad powers. A ‘cover-up committee’ will not solve a problem that refuses to go away.” All the jurists who attended the meetings until now claimed that the IDF’s investigations are yesterday’s methods, and that Judge Goldstone sees them as a biased investigation that has no credibility.

It looks as though the committee that will be established will not have the power to initiate proceedings against soldiers, commanders or politicians, but only to draw system-wide conclusions and make recommendations.

Mazuz’s position has won the support of Justice Minister Neeman and of Foreign Minister Lieberman. Both ministers, together with the attorney general, believe that Israel must conduct a sort of outside investigation in order to take the Goldstone report off the world’s agenda.

[…]

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Categories: Diplomacy, Impunity

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