Israel rebukes U.S. calls for investigation into mass graves in Gaza

Israel rebukes U.S. calls for investigation into mass graves in Gaza

Politico reports:

Israel’s military says it already looked into reports of mass graves and found no wrongdoing by its forces, even as the Biden administration calls for an investigation into the matter.

Over the past few days, U.S. officials, including national security adviser Jake Sullivan, have called for Israel to “thoroughly and transparently” investigate reports of mass graves at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, which Israeli forces last raided in February. The State Department came under fire from advocates for refusing to call for an independent investigation, instead saying the U.S. will press Israel for information.

When POLITICO asked Israel Defense Forces spokesperson Nadav Shoshani whether Israel plans on investigating, he at first waived off the question, calling the reports “fake news.”

Asked if that means Israel won’t investigate the mass grave reports, Shoshani said: “Investigate what?” He then added that Israel has already looked into the matter and found that there was no wrongdoing. “We gave answers. We don’t bury people in mass graves. Not something we do.”

Shoshani didn’t provide details of that investigation or who Israel provided answers to specifically.

“The Israelis have told us privately what they’ve said publicly, that they totally reject the allegations,” said a U.S. official, granted anonymity to detail private conversations. “We aren’t in a position to validate that, and would like a thorough and transparent investigation into the reports.” The White House and the State Department declined to comment.

At least two of the three burial sites were dug prior to Israeli troops arriving, The New York Times reported. But the Gaza Civil Defense said only about 100 people were buried in graves before the IDF raid, and a total of 392 bodies were recovered.

Experts don’t believe there would be accountability if Israel investigates: “It is hard to see any real accountability or change coming out of that, said Mairav Zonszein, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.

“Simply asking Israel to investigate itself is meaningless,” said Khaled Elgindy, the Middle East Institute’s director of the program on Palestine and Israeli-Palestinian affairs. [Continue reading…]

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