B’Tselem: Army investigation into war on Gaza won’t avert ICC intervention

The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, said in a new report published Tuesday that army investigation into the summer 2014 war on Gaza will not prevent the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague from carrying out its own investigation.

In a report titled Whitewash Protocol: The So-Called Investigation of Operation Protective Edge, B’Tselem said that Israeli Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG), which was investigating wrongdoings during the war, did not investigate any official or military commander.

“Neither government officials nor senior military commanders, who devised the policy, were responsible for the orders and made operational decisions during the fighting – were ever investigated by any official body nor held to account for their responsibility for the devastating effects of their decisions,” said the report.

“Two years after the fact, there has been no investigation of policy issues, including the policy of targeting inhabited homes, which resulted in the Israeli military killing hundreds of people; the policy of indiscriminate artillery fire at inhabited areas; and the policy of destroying farmland and thousands of homes,” it said.

The report said that the MAG investigation actually “absolves every level of officials involved in the attacks – from the prime minister, through the MAG himself through to the persons who ultimately fired – of the duty to do everything in their power to minimize harm to civilians.”

Describing the investigation as “whitewash,” B’Tselem said Israeli officials agreed only to the investigation to avoid an intervention by the ICC.

However, it said, the ICC will not intervene “so long as Israel can prove it is willing and able to investigate breaches of IHL (international humanitarian law) on its own. It appears that Israel has failed to meet even this goal.”

It said that “should the (ICC) prosecutor decide such jurisdiction does exist, it is highly doubtful that the investigations conducted by Israel would keep the court from stepping in.”

Israel launched what it dubbed Operation Protective Edge war against Gaza in August 2014, the third in six years.

The war lasted 51 days and had claimed the lives of more than 2200 Palestinians, the majority of them were civilians including more than 500 children in addition to the destruction of 18,000 homes rendering more than 100,000 Palestinians homeless and heavy damage to the infrastructure.

Source: WAFA