Israeli report refutes Goldstone

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel refuted allegations of war crimes in a paper detailing its process of investigating its military’s actions during the Gaza war.

The Foreign Ministry last Friday released the 46-page document describing Israel’s procedures for probing allegations of violations of the Law of Armed Conflict.

The paper refuted four of the 36 allegations against Israel of war crimes enumerated in the United Nations’ Goldstone Commission report, which accused Israel and the Palestinians of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the war.

The document focuses on investigations, legal proceedings and lessons learned in relation to Israeli army actions during Operation Cast Lead from Dec. 27, 2008 through Jan. 18, 2009.

The United Nations set a Feb. 5 deadline for the Israel and the Palestinians to provide independent investigations into the report’s findings.

According to a statement from the Foreign Ministry, "Israel’s investigative system, like that of many states, includes a range of checks and balances and multiple layers of review to ensure impartiality and independence."

The document reports that "The IDF has launched investigations into 150 separate incidents arising from the Gaza Operation. Of the 150 incidents, so far 36 have been referred for criminal investigation. Criminal investigators have taken statements from almost 100 Palestinian complainants and witnesses, along with approximately 500 IDF soldiers and commanders. In locating Palestinian witnesses and making arrangements for them to give evidence, the IDF works together with local NGOs."

The Israel Defense Forces reportedly will submit a 1,000-page point-by-point rebuttal of the Goldstone report to the United Nations by the deadline.

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