Photo: Reuters
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Photo: Reuters
Special team tasked with devising counter-Goldstone policies
PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Barak adamant no new probe of IDF's conduct in Gaza war needed; order officials to find ways to deal with report's international implications

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Sunday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and various defense establishment officials to discuss the possible ramifications of the Goldstone Report, which accused the IDF and Hamas of committing war crimes during their December-January war in Gaza.  


The forum decided to task a special team with formulating ways to counter any implications in the international arena.


Netanyahu stressed that IDF soldiers and officers will not be interrogated. "It's out of the question. The military's own (investigating) procedures are excellent."


The team formed would prepare a brief for Israel to use in order to demonstrate the process used to investigate the allegations made by the Goldstone Report.


Later sunday, Barak echoed the sentiment, saying that Israel will not form another commission of inquiry into the Gaza war.


"(Israel) sent the troops on this mission and they are entitled to our full backup. Israel will continue fighting this report and will also pursue ways to amend international laws to fight against terrorists operating amid civilian population."


Saturday saw Netanyahu come up with no less than three versions on his stand on the matter: He was quoted by the Washington Post as saying Israel was considering a new probe, several hours later his office issued a statement clarifying that he "never meant Israel needed an additional probe"; and later still, he reportedly told his confidants that he had not made a final decision on the matter.


So far, five ministers support a new commission of inquiry into the events of Operation Cast Lead: Michael Eitan, Avishay Braverman, Uzi landau, Dan Meridor and Isaac Herzog.


Sources in the Prime Minister's Office stressed that while Netanyahu asserts that the IDF is the most ethical army in the world and that he strongly believes that the Goldstone Report was severely skewed, he has not made any final decision on the matter at this time.


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