Israeli Forces Respond to Goldstone Report

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's Foreign Ministry issued the Israel Defense Forces response to the U.N.-initiated Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip in 2008-2009.

The 37-page report, entitled "Gaza Operation Investigations: Second Update," was delivered to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, Reuters reported.

The report outlines several new initiatives designed to reduce civilian casualties and minimize property damage, particularly during urban warfare.

Terror groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah often operate inside residential neighborhoods. It's not uncommon to find weapons warehouses and explosives manufacturing facilities in apartment buildings, hospitals and even schools.

"The IDF has implemented operational changes in its orders and combat doctrine designed to further minimize civilian casualties and damage to civilian property in the future," the report read.

"In particular, the IDF has adopted important new procedures designed to enhance the protection of civilians in urban warfare, for instance by further emphasizing that the protection of civilians is an integral part of an IDF commander's missions," the report stated.

Click here to read the full report.

Among the modifications cited in the report, the IDF agreed to limit the use of white phosphorus, a legal substance used as a smokescreen, and appoint a humanitarian affairs officer to each combat unit.

"The IDF is in the process of establishing permanent restrictions on the use of munitions containing white phosphorus in urban areas," the report stated.

In one instance, the IDF found the smoke-screening shells had damaged a compound more extensively than anticipated.

"Following reports of the damage, the IDF immediately imposed revised restrictions on the use of smoke-screening munitions containing white phosphorus near sensitive sites. These restrictions were in place through the remainder of the Gaza Operation," the IDF stated in the report.

The Foreign Ministry also released a videotaped interview with Arthur Lenk, head of the ministry's international law department.

Click here to watch the interview.

The report mentions the government's establishment of a commission, headed by retired judge Yaakov Turkel, to further investigate the Gaza incursion.

The IDF also launched 47 criminal investigations to determine if there was any misconduct by IDF troops during the three-week military operation, which began near the end of December 2008.

One soldier has been charged with manslaughter for firing on a group of Palestinians who ignored warning shots and continued advancing toward the soldiers. The brigade had been warned of a potential suicide bomber among civilians and were ordered not to let anyone come within 100 meters (yards) of them.

"The defendant understood at this point that the move he must make was to fire," the soldier's attorney said. 

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.