Israeli state comptroller to investigate Gaza conflict

Ben Sales

(JTA) — Israel’s state comptroller will investigate Israeli military conduct and decisions made during the recent conflict with Hamas in Gaza.

Wednesday’s announcement came in the wake of allegations of Israel Defense Forces war crimes during the month-long conflict, in which more than 1,900 Palestinians were killed. Palestinian human rights organizations claim more than 80 percent of those killed were civilians, while Israel says the number is much lower.

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“In light of claims that Israel allegedly violated the rules of international law and is not checking IDF actions as required by international law, State Comptroller Judge (Ret.)  Yosef Shapira has decided to launch an inquiry into the decision-making processes on the military and political level during Operation Protective Edge, and the inspection and investigation mechanisms of the IDF and the government,” the comptroller’s statement said, according to Haaretz.

On Monday, the United Nations selected Canadian law professor William Schabas to head an international probe into the conflict. Schabas sits on the board of the Israel Law Review.

Schabas has previously called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stand trial at the International Criminal Court, but has said in recent days that he will be impartial in the investigation. Speaking to Canadian news channel CBC, Schabas said claims that he is anti-Israel are “absurd.”

The last U.N. investigation into Israeli fighting in Gaza, led by South African Judge Richard Goldstone in 2009, claimed that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in its invasion of Gaza in 2008 and 2009. The Israeli government rejected the report as biased and inaccurate.