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Israel military ethics authors want Gaza probe

Nov. 9, 2009 5:40 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 10, 2009 11:39 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The two professors who authored the Israeli military's ethical code in 1992 called on Israel to probe certain aspects of the Goldstone report that alleges war crimes in Gaza, Israeli media reported on Monday.

Professors Moshe Halbertal and Avi Sagi, two authors of the "Spirit of the IDF," a military code of conduct released in 1992 have published articles respectively detailing the need to investigate certain aspects of the Goldstone report on conduct that appears to undermine the Israeli military's ethical code.

In an article published in the US magazine The New Republic, Professor Moshe Halbertal stated that while Judge Richard Goldstone's reported intended "to prepare a general indictment of Israel as a predatory state that is geared toward violating human rights all the time, " the Israeli military must nonetheless investigate the report and present the guidelines which it operated during the three week assault on Gaza, he wrote.

Goldstone’s UN-mandated fact-finding mission accused both Israel and Palestinian paramilitary groups of committing war crimes during Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip in December and January. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the war, along with 13 Israelis.

In an online article quoted in the Israeli daily Haaretz, Sagi remarked that the "Spirit of the IDF" placed the highest of moral standards on Israeli soldiers but argued that even though Israel has rejected the Goldstone report, "the question remains over whether in fact IDF troops operated everywhere as required, according to the values to which they are committed."

Sagi further added that, "I'm certain that no one instructed an IDF soldier to harm civilians. In my heart there is a deep suspicion that in some of the military operations, soldiers and commanders did not adopt the highest [ethical] standard, and did not do everything in their power to avoid harming unarmed individuals."

Halbertal stressed that the allegations that require immediate attention from Israel include opening fire on Palestinians white flags, the destruction of homes during the assault's final stages, and the destruction of infrastructure, including power stations and water facilities.

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