IDF tells Palestinians “bring forth Gaza war complaints” 10Nov09 November 11, 2009
by Jonathan LisÂ -Â Haaretz -Â 10 November 2009
The top commander of the Israel Defense Forces said on Tuesday that the army was carrying out numerous investigations into the Gaza Strip, and was willing to look into any complaint of misconduct on the part of its soldiers.
“The [Goldstone] report and the claims that came out of it necessitate some sort of response,” said IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, of a UN-commissioned report that accuses both Israel and Hamas of carrying out war crimes during the offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
“The report accuses the Israeli government of acting against the civilian population and of punishing activities. I have personally appointed five investigative committees, and we have found mistakes,” he added.
The IDF chief said that the army was open to probing any complaint whatsoever regarding the offensive, adding, “Our research is thorough, reliable and truthful. I am not the commander of an army of criminals, rapists and looters: We found no soldiers who that aimed their weapon directly at a mother and child purposefully.”
“Our criminal investigation division is in the midst of checking 45 complaints,” he said. “I invite all Palestinians to testify if they have complaints. As of now, 60 Palestinians have delivered their testimonies.”
“Because of the nature of the battlefield… we innocently hurt civilians as well, just like we hurt our very own soldiers and officers,” Ashkenazi said.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives condemned the 575-page report, drafted by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, as irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.
The United Nations, however, has endorsed the report.