The Jerusalem Center recently published an extensive study of Operation Protective Edge entitled The Gaza War 2014: The War Israel Did Not Want and the Disaster It Averted. The book includes a chapter by Lt. Col. (res.) David Benjamin, who served in the IDF Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) as Chief Legal Advisor for the Gaza Strip. That chapter, along with other research in the book, shows how the IDF goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and to comply with international law. The IDF investigates any incident that may involve violation of those rules.
An IDF Fact Finding Assessment Mechanism (FFAM) was set up and activated during Operation Protective Edge. The FFAM, headed by a major-general and composed of operational and legal experts, mostly reservists, began its work about two weeks into the operation. To date, around 100 incidents have been referred by the MAG for examination by the FFAM.
The organization Breaking the Silence recently alleged that testimonies it collected from anonymous Israeli soldiers showed that the IDF employed indiscriminate fire in Gaza that resulted in many Palestinian civilian casualties and widespread destruction.
As in previous cases, Breaking the Silence refuses to provide the names of these witnesses or to make them available to IDF investigators who are charged with investigating all accusations of army wrong-doing. Other NGOs often provide details of their cases, usually from the Palestinian perspective, so that the IDF Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) can investigate such incidents.
It is clear that Breaking the Silence is less interested in uncovering the facts and instead seeks to defame the State of Israel.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised Israel for its efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.