Published On: Mon, Jul 25th, 2016

Dozens of Protective Edge Bereaved Families Demand Inquiry Into War

In a letter to the PM and other senior political officials, parents who lost children during the 50-day operation demand that an external and independent inquiry committee be established in order to thoroughly investigate all aspects of the operation's handling: 'Every incident should be checked in a transparent manner, ' say the parents.

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The family of IDF officer Hadar Goldin at his funeral with then-defense minister Ya'alon (Photo Motti Kimchi)

Dozens of bereaved parents, many of whom lost their children during Operation Protective Edge, have demanded that a state committee be formed to investigate the 2014 Gaza operation. The orchestrators of the initiative, parents of fallen soldiers, have implored other parents and families of civilians who were killed in the operation to join them.

The parents expressed their demand in a letter sent on Sunday to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with copies to President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Security Committee (FASC) MK Avi Dichter.

The letter details events of the 50-day war that claimed the lives of 67 soldiers and five civilians and saw hundreds more soldiers and civilians wounded, with many civilians suffering from shock as much of the country was under threat of rocket fire.

When the conflict ended, a request was filed to launch an inquiry that would look into events prior to the operation, including the preparedness of the home front, military assessments, incidents during the operation itself and the decision made by the top echelons of the IDF.

However, the request was rejected and the relevant political bodies instructed the FASC to compile a report on the operation instead, which has yet to be published.

Therefore, the parents are once again demanding an investigation into the operation.

“Recently, it has become apparent that a decision was made to renew FASC discussions on the subject of Operation Protective Edge and produce a report that was shelved due to the (2015) elections, ” wrote the bereaved families.

“It is not appropriate to reconvene the committee that despite having investigated the incidents, still chose not to publicize the findings. Even if the choice not to publish was made by another person rather than the person who heads the committee today, it doesn’t seem right to renew the discussions (of the committee) after such an extensive period of time has passed (since the operation). It would appear as a lack of transparency or as if there were other pressures (not to publish the report), neither of which have a place in the investigation of a matter of such magnitude.”

Authors of the letter also pointed out that “The State of Israel, and us as its citizens, face tough challenges. Therefore, you, who stand at the top, are obliged to undertake measures to learn objective lessons by an external and independent committee which is authorized to look into and investigate every incident of the war and those in charge at the time, including the decision-making process. Furthermore, we believe that the investigation should be transparent which will guarantee our basic rights to know.”

Meanwhile, members of the FASC have attempted to renew the discussions surrounding Protective Edge and the publication of a conclusive report. Just over a week ago, MK Erel Margalit (Zionist Union) asked MK Avi Dichter to reconvene the committee on the matter.

According to Margalit and other MKs, the discussions were brought to a close and the report was not published due to political considerations.

Last week, the Knesset Presidium instructed that the committee be reconvened but failed to establish a specific day or timeframe.

Matan Tzuri and Moran Azulay

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