The Israeli Army has taken seriously the need to check thoroughly its activities during operation Cast Lead. Five investigative teams dealt with the following issues:
a) Claims regarding incidents where UN and international facilities were fired upon and damaged during Operation Cast Lead.
b)Incidents involving shooting at medical facilities, buildings, vehicles and crews.
c) Claims regarding incidents in which many uninvolved civilians were harmed.
d) The use of weaponry containing phosphorous.
e) Damage to infrastructure and destruction of buildings by ground forces.
In accordance with accepted IDF protocol for professional investigations, the investigators operated independently and were provided with access to all relevant materials and the freedom to question any of the relevant personnel.
The investigations showed that throughout the fighting in Gaza, the IDF operated in accordance with international law. The IDF maintained a high professional and moral level while facing an enemy that aimed to terrorize Israeli civilians whilst taking cover amidst uninvolved civilians in the Gaza strip and using them as human shields.
Notwithstanding this, the investigations revealed a very small number of incidents in which intelligence or operational errors took place during the fighting. These unfortunate incidents were unavoidable and occur in all combat situations, in particular of the type which Hamas forced on the IDF, by choosing to fight from within the civilian population.
The fighting in Gaza took place in a complex battlefield against an enemy who chose, as a conscious part of its doctrine, to locate itself in the midst of the civilian population. The enemy booby trapped its houses with explosives, fired from the schools attended by its own children and used its own people as human shields while cynically abusing the IDF’s legal and ethical commitment to avoid injuring uninvolved civilians.
In order to ensure compliance with the IDF's obligations under international law, the IDF invested an enormous effort and huge resources to warn civilians in the Gaza Strip away from harm. Additionally, the IDF made extensive use of accurate munitions, wherever and whenever possible, to minimize harm to civilians. In addition, during the operation the IDF authorized humanitarian convoys to enter the Gaza and employed a humanitarian recess for several hours a day.
The IDF operated in accordance with moral values and international laws of war, trained its soldiers to act in accordance with the values and norms which bind the IDF, and made an enormous effort to focus its fire only against the terrorists whilst doing the utmost to avoid harming uninvolved civilians.
The investigation process was lengthy due to the extent of the fighting, the complex and thorough work of the investigators, the time required to gather information from the various units involved in the operation, and comprehensive cross-checking.Some specific additional issues are still being checked, and additional allegations are now being investigated.
In accordance with usual practice, a summary of each investigation will also be presented to the Military Advocate General, who is entitled to decide whether additional checks need to be done or if there is the basis for opening another type of investigation. His decision is entirely independent and he is subject only to the law.
Due to their significance, the conclusions of the investigations and the opinion of the Military advocate will be presented for review to the Attorney General.