JERUSALEM, Sept. 10 (UPI) -- An investigation into incidents of possible misconduct during the 50-day Gaza war has begun by Israel's Military Advocate General Corps, a senior military official said Wednesday.
Five incidents are under investigation. The inquiry appears to be an Israeli attempt to examine what the global community sees as possible war crimes in Gaza, and a pre-emption of international action.
The most prominent incidents under consideration are an Israeli airstrike on a United Nations school on July 24 in the town of Beit Hanoun in which 16 civilians seeking shelter were killed, and the shelling of a Gaza beach on July 16 in which four children were killed. Both attacks initiated international outrage and condemnation of the Israeli military strategy; the beach incident was witnessed by many foreign journalists staying in a nearby hotel, who noted no sign of military activity in the area.
The other cases involved a Palestinian teenager who claimed he was mistreated while in Israeli detention, a Palestinian woman killed by gunfire and a soldier who allegedly stole money from a Gaza home.
The speed of the start of the self-investigation, only two weeks into a ceasefire, suggests it is intended to pre-empt a United Nations Human Rights Council investigation of possible war crimes, with which Israel, claiming bias, has said it will not cooperate. Palestinian leadership in Gaza has also threatened to take its grievances over alleged war crimes to the International Criminal Court.