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Time For An Inquiry

This is a guest post by S.O.Muffin

This website, quite rightly, devoted a great deal of attention to exposing questionable practices of HRW and of its personnel engaged with the Israel–Palestine issue. But what is a sauce for the goose… The main protagonist of Marc Galasco in two major instances predating Cast Lead was the IDF chair of enquiries looking at an allegations of killing civilians in Gaza (specifically, Beit Hanun and Gaza Beach), certain Major General Meir Kalifi. Who, after “thorough investigation”, found that IDF is totally blameless in both cases. Well, few weeks ago, the very same Maj Gen Kalifi was quoted by Nir Hefetz, Bibi Netanyahu’s official spokesman (in a different context) as saying that:

“For state security one may sometimes not tell the whole truth.”

Would it be so totally inappropriate to doubt the credentials of Maj Gen Kalifi as much as those of Mr Garlasco? Why should we suspend our disbelief and critical faculties in one case but not in the other?

There is one, very simple and straightforward way for Israel to stop at once this entire business: to declare that the conduct of IDF, inclusive of all complaints of misconduct, during Cast Lead will be investigated by an independent Israeli judicial enquiry, headed by a Supreme Court judge and, as stipulated by Israeli law, empowered to call witnesses under oath and to conduct whatever part of their enquiry they deem appropriate in public or in private.

Whatever one’s opinion of IDF, its generals are not angels. (It would have been an exceedingly poor policy for any country, least of all Israel, to entrust its security to angels.) The idea that they are investigating themselves and their own troops is as ludicrous as it would have been anywhere else. On the other hand, Israeli commissions of enquiry have a long, proud and fairly consistent track record of getting at the truth.

What is there to be afraid? Those who claim that IDF behaved in an exemplary manner surely should be the first to agree that there is absolutely nothing to hide, that IDF has nothing to fear from a commission consisting of Israeli judges and “the great and the good”, all thoroughly vetted security-wise, all committed to the state, its ethos and well being.

So what’s the problem?

Gene adds: Haaretz reports:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to present a proposal to his cabinet Thursday for the establishment of an investigative committee to probe the findings of the Goldstone Commission report on the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas.


“A commission headed by a Supreme Court justice must immediately be established to examine Operation Cast Lead. And although the [Goldstone] report is very much not fair and borders on incitement, it also raises questions regarding our actions in Gaza,” said Prof. Uriel Reichman, president of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.