Goldstone: IDF must punish officers for Gaza war crimes

September 23rd, 2009 | Posted in Palestine
    September 21st, 2009 Haaretz


    Photo: Palestinian holds Israeli military shells in Gaza.

United Nations investigator Richard Goldstone, whose commission of inquiry found Israel guilty of war crimes in the Gaza Strip, said Monday that Israel Defense Forces soldier and officers must be held accountable for any violations to military standards.

Goldstone’s findings outraged Israeli officials across the political and military spectrum, who accused the former South African judge of bias and failure to sufficiently recognize as war crimes Hamas’ rocket fire during the winter offensive.

In an exclusive interview with Channel 2 on Monday, Goldstone said IDF soldiers who committed the violations, as well as the commanders who failed to reprimand them, must stand trial for their offenses.

The former judge also said that Israel should have taken the opportunity for an internal investigation of the IDF’s conduct during the offensive.

J Street, the left-wing pro-Israel lobby group in the U.S., made a similar plea for an internal IDF probe on Monday.

“Some of the concerns with the report would have been better addressed had the Israeli government cooperated with the investigation in presenting its own findings,” J Street executive director Jeremy Ben-Ami said in a statement.

“We urge the Israeli government to establish an independent state commission of inquiry to investigate the accusations, something Israel has done on several occasions in the past,” he added.”

J Street went on to “strongly condemn” Hamas for its actions during the war, and said it hoped the upcoming trilateral summit in New York between U.S. President Barack Obama, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas could yield “purposeful and assertive action … to avert future rounds of violence and bloodshed.”

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