An Israeli commander has confessed to crimes committed by the Israeli army during the 22-day onslaught on the Gaza Strip, a report says.
Colonel Ilan Malka, who headed the Givati Brigade during the December 2008-January 2009 war against Gaza, has admitted to the killing of civilians during the Israeli incursion into the coastal sliver, the Arabic-language Al-Alam television network reported on Saturday.
Malka had earlier told Israeli investigators that he did not know there were civilians in a building that came under attack on January 5, 2009 after he ordered the strike.
Eyewitnesses, however, say Israeli military razed the building after the attack in order to obliterate traces of their crimes.
The deadly attack, which was denounced by the United Nations as “one of the gravest” of the offensives of the war, claimed the lives of 22 members of the Samuni family, ten of whom were minors.
Twenty-nine members of the family, who lived in Gaza City’s Zaitun neighborhood, were killed, and 49 others were injured in the war.
The Samunis suffered more fatalities than any other Gaza family during the conflict, which the Israelis call Operation Cast Lead.
Meanwhile, Salah Abdul Ati, the director of the Independent Human Rights Center told Al-Alam that Tel Aviv had, at the time, rejected the killing of civilians in the attack.
Abdul Ati also stressed the need for the prosecution of Israeli authorities in international tribunals and called for an end to the Israeli occupation.
Israeli officials had previously claimed that the attack was an “operational error,” saying the army had intended to attack a nearby weapons stockpile.
According to a UN report issued by veteran war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, Israel used disproportionate force and deliberately targeted civilians in the Gaza war.
The conflict claimed the lives of more than 1,400 Palestinians, including over 900 civilians.
During the 1967 war, Israel occupied the West Bank, including East al-Quds (Jerusalem), a move that has been repeatedly condemned by the international community.