But Israel sure is proud of itself. Daniel Hershkowitz, Minister of Science and Technology, remarked: “The State of Israel has nothing to hide. There will always be accusations, but the IDF examines itself and its ethical level is very high.” Many, many, many such chauvinistic statements can be found all over the Israeli papers.
Interestingly, however, not all Israelis feel the IDF can investigate itself in a credible manner. These rabid anti-Semites include such known Israel-haters as Judge Goldstone. . . . and PM Netanyahu and former Chief Justice of Israel’s High Court, Aharon Barak. Their interest in investigating the IDF’s crimes are “born in sin”, said opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who is concerned “Israel will be granting legitimacy to the distorted report unintentionally.” She demands full protection of Israeli soldiers as a precondition for any investigation, thereby absolving potential war criminals of crimes she seems so certain they didn’t commit, so they don’t end up with international arrest warrants. She knows how unpleasant that can be.
Should we believe the IDF’s investigation?
Let’s remember back to last year when allegations surfaced that Israel used the illegal white phosphorous munitions in its attacks against the UN compound and a number of other incidents. Israel denied vehemently that such weapons were used and accused those making the allegations, like Judge Goldstone, of anti-Semitism despite massive photographic and physical evidence that they had indeed used the banned substance. Israel even went so far as to suggest that Palestinian victims who had been burned with white phosphorous had perhaps self-inflicted the wounds (HT to Magnes Zionist for recalling this gem).
Guess what? Yesterday, the IDF admitted that two officers “overstepped their authority” in approving white phosphorous use. Whether or not these self-confirmed war criminals will be reprimanded seems to be up in the air, but they don’t seem to be in much danger of anything more than a slap on the wrist. The BBC, for example, reports that this is going to be noted in their formal military records (oohhh, scary), but they retain their rank and positions in the military.
Of course, the bigger point to be made is not whether these two will find justice. The case confirms that the IDF cannot under any circumstances be trusted to investigate itself. It has no credibility after lying in such an obvious and pathetic way.
IDF’s report already being disproved with hard evidence
That’s not all. One of the most serious allegations in the Goldstone report is the IDF’s apparently pre-meditated attack on one of Gaza’s three flour mills. This attack on a civilian target, which was known as a civilian target to the Israelis for a long time, is one of the primary reasons the conclusions of the Goldstone report suggested “possible crimes against humanity” were committed because destroying a flour mill like this, in a premeditated manner, without strong military justification comes dangerously close to the crime called persecution (persecution is a crime against humanity).
The IDF report attempts to counter the allegation by arguing explicitly that no airstrike destroyed the mill. Rather, it asserts, the Al-Bader mill was destroyed by tank artillery shells during an exchange with Hamas fighters located nearby. The IDF specifically states that the mill was not a pre-planned target and that it was certainly not destroyed by an airstrike.
Sounds plausible, no?
It took less than 24 hours for this lie to be disproved. As reported in the Guardian UK, the UN mine team charged with sapping unexploded ordinance found “the remains of a 500-pound Mk82 aircraft-dropped bomb were found in the ruins of the mill last January. Photographs of the front half of the bomb have been obtained by the Guardian (UK).”
There is therefore photographic proof, collected by United Nations staff, that proves the IDF is lying about this extremely serious incident. The Israeli organization B‘Tselem says this proves the IDF is more interested in a cover-up than an investigation.
It appears that the IDF’s “very high ethics” do not extend to the value of not lying in order to cover-up the war crimes and possible crimes against humanity that they committed.
The international community will not be so easily fooled.
Justice will not be so easily evaded.