As I noted in my last post… Israel fears UN investigation on its crimes in Gaza
…Israel Today quoted official Israeli politicians as saying that the UN commission of inquiry will be much more damning than the ‘Goldstone Commission’ report issued by a similar committee in the aftermath of the aggression on Gaza at the end of 2008, especially since the “Goldstone Commission” was a “fact-finding committee”, whilst the current committee is a ‘commission of inquiry.’
The newspaper considered the differences to be ‘extremely worrisome’ because the probe could refer its conclusions to the International Criminal Court and bring to trial the leadership in Israel on charges of committing war crimes, should the case reach such a conclusion.
The newspaper said that the Israeli government has formed a team to deal with the commission of inquiry, and the team will focus on facing legal and political campaigns as well as the international media immediately after the aggression on Gaza ends.
It seems that Israel will repeat its claims and arguments that the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip worked from within populated areas and used civilians as human shields, and that this lead to a large number of civilian deaths.
Haaretz reported today that the IDF puts together team to deflect war-crime allegations…
Legal work is being done ahead of possible international investigations like those that followed the 2009 Gaza offensive and the Mavi Marmara incident.
The Israel Defense Forces has established a team to collect evidence on the fighting with Hamas in Gaza in case the army is accused of war crimes. The IDF reiterated yesterday that Hamas had committed crimes, not Israel.
The team, headed by the chief of the IDF’s Planning Directorate, Maj. Gen. Nimrod Sheffer, includes officials from the Military Advocate General’s Office, Southern Command, the Gaza Division and the air force.
The team will collect evidence about Palestinian civilians used as human shields, particularly video documentation by the air force. The officials note a number of events in which Palestinian civilians have been harmed and it is not clear who was responsible. This includes firing on the Shati refugee camp and Shifa Hospital, a military source said.
The IDF also intends to discuss the air force’s target planning, which includes calculations of possible damage to surrounding buildings and sites during an air strike.
The daily Israel Hayom, which first reported on the establishment of the team Friday, said officials from government ministries would also be on board, including the Foreign Ministry and the Defense Ministry.
Legal work is being done ahead of possible international investigations like the ones that followed Israel’s January 2009 ground offensive in Gaza and the 2010 commando raid on the Gaza-bound ship the Mavi Marmara. The new team will also present findings on the conduct of Hamas during the fighting in Gaza over the past three and a half weeks.
Sheffer’s work will run simultaneously with probes coordinated by Maj. Gen. Noam Tibon, who is heading a General Staff panel tasked with clarifying cases in which the IDF harmed noncombatants.
Reflecting back on the ‘Cast Lead’ debacle, Wikileaks, had released this Tel Aviv cable…