Schondorf’s suggestion is adopting the Turkel Commission model, which Israel used to successfully ward off ICC scrutiny after the 2008-9 Gaza conflict.

THE INTERNATIONAL Criminal Court in The Hague.

The best way that Israel can mitigate a potential war crimes allegations threat from the International Criminal Court would be by opening an external independent Israeli state inquiry of those allegations to be led by a former judge, former deputy attorney general for international affairs Roy Schondorf, has suggested to The Jerusalem Post and multiple Israeli outlets.

Schondorf led Israel’s efforts to defend itself against war crimes and the ICC for about 13 years until mid-2022 and is still viewed as one of Israel’s top experts on the issue, having also served for over a decade as an IDF lawyer.

Essentially, Schondorf’s suggestion is adopting the Turkel Commission model, which Israel used to successfully ward off ICC scrutiny after the 2008-9 Gaza conflict, along with the UN Goldstone Commission Inquiry, which came after Israel subsequently for alleged war crimes related to that conflict.

The Turkel Commission, led by former Supreme Court justice Jacob Turkel, evaluated Israel’s entire war crimes probing system and made several recommendations that eventually fundamentally altered the system to be more aggressive, faster, and transparent about such probes.

In addition, the commission’s recommendations altered the way the Shin Bet handles interrogations and probes allegations of torturing detainees.

SMOKE RISES amid Israeli air strikes in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. (credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH9

While Israel disputes all war crimes charges and believes that 14,000-16,000 of the Palestinians killed in the current war were either Hamas terrorists or Palestinian civilians killed by Palestinian rocket misfires, that would still leave 16,000-20,000 Palestinian civilians potentially killed by the IDF.

Though Israel blames these deaths on Hamas’s systematic human shields policy and says that its ratio of civilian deaths in war is better than the US and other countries, even the IDF is planning an unprecedented thousands of probes into allegations.

Schondorf not taken seriously

However, so far, The Post understands that neither the IDF, the Foreign Ministry, Prime mInister’s Office, nor the Justice Ministry are taking Schondorf’s idea seriously.

It was unclear if they might take the idea seriously at a later crisis stage, given that the ICC may soon issue arrest warrants against Israeli officials.

Former attorney-general Yehuda Weinstein told The Post that Schondorf’s idea might have merit.

Former international law division chief Col. (res.) Pnina Sharvit Baruch said that any serious probe by Israel would be a move in the right direction.

To date, the only probe the IDF has said it will publicize is its review of the October 7 failure to stop Hamas’s invasion.

Although in January-March, the IDF legal division started to move forward with accelerating some legal probes, there is no deadline yet for publicizing even some initial findings.

So far, Israel seems to be hoping that diplomatic pressure from the US will slow the ICC war crimes arrest warrants and probe.

As reported by The Jerusalem Post