In its official response to the United Nations Report on potential war crimes committed during Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip last year, the Israeli military admitted that Israeli troops did fire white phosphorus artillery shells into a United Nations compound in violation of international law.During Israel’s 3-week long invasion of Gaza that began on December 27, 2008 and ended on January 20, 2009, journalists were prevented from entering Gaza by Israeli forces, and only months afterward were United Nations officials like South African Judge Richard Goldstone, and his delegation able to enter to examine the evidence of possible war crimes. Even so, the UN team did find evidence of hundreds of instances of possible war crimes by Israeli troops, and nearly 30 violations by Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza. Richard Goldstone and his team called on both Israel and the Hamas government in Gaza to investigate these allegations.
The Israeli government issued its official response to the Goldstone Report this week, at the same time that the Israeli government paid the United Nations $10 million in compensation for attacking the UN compound in exchange for an agreement that the UN would not consider litigation against the Israeli government.
In the report, the military claimed that Gaza Division Commander, Brigadier-General Eyal Eisenberg and former Givati Brigade Commander, Colonel Ilan Malka were disciplined for the attack on the UN compound in Gaza, but did not indicate what disciplinary actions were taken against the two men. Their commanding officer is the one who carried out the ‘disciplinary measure’, according to the report, but received no discipline or punishment himself.
Although Israeli authorities claim to have cooperated fully with the UN Commission during their investigation last year, Judge Richard Goldstone and other members of his team had complained at the time of the investigation that they had been unable to enter Israel to investigate allegations of war crimes carried out by Hamas, and received no support in their investigation from the Israeli military or authorities.