Friday, July 31, 2009

Israel investigates itself--and finds itself not guilty. Surprise?

The Israeli military has decided that it is perfectly capable of investigating itself. According to the AFP, "The Israeli military is conducting 15 criminal probes into troop conduct during its Gaza offensive, including over claims children were used as human shields, authorities said on Thursday." Not surprisingly, the Israeli foreign ministry is claiming that "the evidence thus far reflects that the IDF (armed forces) pursued legitimate objectives, with appropriate precautions." You have to wonder if the Israeli government believes that individuals accused of crimes should be allowed to investigate themselves, since institutions accused of crimes--in this case, war crimes--apparently are. Sherine Tadros of Al Jazeera reports on the strategic timing of this report by the Israeli government, which came out in the wake of a report by Amnesty International and just before the UN Human Rights Council prepares to publish conclusions from its public hearings in Gaza: Unfortunately, rather than calling for an independent investigation or holding Israel accountable for its actions during the assault on the Gaza Strip, the U.S. government is rewarding war crimes by continuing provide billions in military aid to Israel. If we want accountability, we can't just wait around for Congress, the Obama Administration, or the Israeli government to do the work for us. We have to act.