Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday 26 Shevat 5773 received the second half of the Turkel Commission report, which evaluated the manner in which the State of Israel examines and investigates allegations that it has violated the laws of armed conflict.
Retired Justice Jacob Turkel, who chaired the Commission, said, “The Committee determined that the examination and investigation mechanisms for complaints and allegations of violations regarding the existing laws of armed conflict in Israel are, generally, in keeping with the obligations of the State of Israel and are in accordance with the rules of international law. However, the Commission believes that in certain areas there is room for improvement vis-à-vis the examination and investigation mechanisms. In some areas, there is room for changes in the accepted policy. The view of the Commission is that the implementation of the recommendations will contribute to improved efficiency in the examination and investigation mechanisms as per the norms of enlightened nations.”
Commission observer Lord David Trimble said, “When taken as a whole, looking at the Israeli legal system, it will pass muster with the best in the world. Not to say that there are things that can’t be improved, that’s the case in all systems. But I think you’ll be very pleased with this report and I think the people of Israel should also.”
Commission observer Prof. Tim McCormack said, “I know that no other study is [as] comprehensive as this on the international legal obligations relating to investigation on accountability for alleged violation of international humanitarian law. I’ve learned a great deal myself from being involved in the process of the commission and the preparation of the report and I think the State of Israel should be very proud of this contribution to the study of a very important area of the law.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “I welcome the Commission’s determination that, in general, the investigation mechanisms in Israel operate in accordance with the standards set in international law. We will consider the areas in which the Commission has made recommendations regarding changes and improvements. The establishment of the Commission and the mandate that it received underscore how determined we are to continue operating according to international standards. This is despite the fact that we must deal, in various spheres, with terrorist organizations that rudely trample on the principles of international law. Some of our enemies perpetrate two-fold war crimes, when they fire at civilian populations from inside civilian populations. Israel is fighting for its life but will do so – as much as possible – in accordance with the international rules.
The Government would like to thank Commission Chairman Justice (ret.) Jacob Turkel and the honored members of the Commission: Prof. Miguel Deutch, Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Horev, and Amb. Reuven Merhav, for their dedicated, professional and thorough work. We would also like to thank the international observers, Lord David Trimble, Prof. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Kenneth Watkin and Prof. Tim McCormack for agreeing to participate in this important commission and for their excellent work. In accordance with the mandate that the Commission received from the Government of Israel, it received the full cooperation of all relevant bodies, including the IDF, the Israel Police, the ISA, the Prison Service and the Justice Ministry, and I have no doubt that this greatly contributed to the writing of a comprehensive and exhaustive report.”
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)