Israeli report confirming Goldstone findings ‘suppressed’ 26Jul10 July 27, 2010

Palestine Note -  26 July 2010

Journalist Max Blumenthal reported Monday that an Israeli military brief submitted to the United Nations earlier this month “regarding Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead confirms the key findings of the Goldstone Report.” The report is “remarkable” in several areas, but it has has been little seen in Israel.

Most marked in the report was its admission that Israeli forces used white phosphorus against a UN compound. This contradicts the repeated Israeli position following the 22-day Israeli offensive, which said “no phosphorous munitions were used on built-up areas.”

Blumenthal said the report, submitted by Military Advocate General Avichai Mandelblit, is being “suppressed” within Israel and has caused “outrage” in the Israeli army.

Mandelblit’s report discusses the high tally of civilian casualties during the offensive and the use of human shields by Israeli soliders. Mandelblit blames Israeli military commanders for the deaths and misconduct and points to Israeli’s military policies as a further source of the behavior. According to Israel’s Law of Armed Conflict, written by Asa Kasher, soldiers are permitted to kill civilians in combat situations if they feel endangered.

Mandelblits recommendation would see an overhaul of Israeli military protocol if implemented, but Blumenthal does not see that happening. “The report’s recommendations have already been met with fierce resentment from the IDF’s officer corps, so it might be unrealistic to expect that they will ever be put into practice, especially since Israel seems to be gearing up for a potentially bloody campaign in urban areas in Southern Lebanon,” Blumenthal said.

The report is unlikely to penetrate the military or the Israeli public, the journalist reported:

Unfortunately, the devastating findings contained in the report have not reached the Israeli mainstream. Articles about the report are buried deep in Israeli newspapers while according to Yedioth Aharonoth, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has refused to make it available on its Hebrew website (it’s only on the English site).

Blumenthal said Maariv columnist Oder Shelakh “was one of the few Israeli public figures to address the official silence following Mandeblit’s release.” In his July 23 column on Mandelblit and the Eiland report on the Gaza flotilla incident May 31, Shelakh said:

It seems that according to the decision-makers in Israel’s Defense system we don’t want to know, we don’t have to know or we agree that all this is merely for foreign consumption, to repel anti-Israel criticism. Israelis prefer to think that the IDF operates brilliantly, that its commanders make no mistakes, and that its firing policy is considerate and moral, and that the problem in “Cast Lead” was the firing policy rather than the decisions of the local commanders.

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