Livni: Probe will legitimize distorted war report
Ministers Yishai, Misezhnikov don't explicitly rule out appointment of independent inquiry commission into Gaza war, but stress: 'IDF world's most moral army'. Meanwhile, opposition leader Tzipi Livni harshly objects to move, says: 'Goldstone Report was born in sin'
Two days after Israel submitted to the United Nations its response to the Goldstone Report into Operation Cast Lead, cabinet ministers on Sunday commented on the move and on the international demand to for an inquiry commission to probe the accusations made in the report.
"It is clear to the entire free world that there is no army as moral as the IDF, especially relative to the action of other militaries. Look at NATO in Afghanistan and the United State's in Iraq," said Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
He added, "The IDF is a moral army that avoids hurting civilians. The Goldstone Report is one-sided and supports the position of Hamas, who fired Qassams at Israel's civilians."
Regarding the demand to appoint an independent inquiry commission, Yishai refused to express a firm stance. "There is a lot of hypocrisy here, but the question of whether or not such a committee should be formed remains. We will have to discuss this," he said.
Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov said, "The matter is currently being handled by professional government elements and silence should be maintained in the media."
However, he added, "I always say that we should examine ourselves, despite the fact that we have the most moral army in the world."
Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz said at the meeting, "The State of Israel has nothing to hide. There will always be accusations, but the IDF examines itself and its ethical level is very high."
He expressed his objection to the appointment of a committee and said, "We have nothing to justify, we can certainly settle for what has already been done and present to the world the findings of the IDF probe."
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni also expressed her harsh objection to the formation of an inquiry committee, saying, "The report was born in sin, it would be a mistake to probe the IDF without ensuring the necessary defense to protect its officers future lawsuits."
She added: "We can and we must ensure this in advance. Simply by forming such a committee, Israel will be granting legitimacy to the distorted report unintentionally. I have faith in the IDF, and every government should provide protection to its soldiers and its citizens without legitimizing bodes and people whose goal is to attack Israel."
Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report