According to Haaretz, the Americans, British and French are pressuring Israel to launch a civilian investigation into the events of the Gaza operation.
Such an investigation would likely to be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice - Aharon Barak is the obvious candidate - joined by a prominent academic figure and a retired general. It would sit for six months or a year, and eventually submit a thick report in two sections. One would be for public and international consumption, and would address all the issues relevant to the public, political and international discussions. The second, classified, section would focus on the minutiae of military practice; it will remain classified for decades, for obvious reasons. So far as I know, the classified section of the Agranat Commission's report, submitted in 1974, is still not open.
There are pros and cons to such a move.
The most obvious reason not to set up such a commission is that it would seem to vindicate the Goldstone Commission's findings, at least until the results are published. Given the degree to which the Goldstone Report really and truly is an unaceptable document- a very large degree - this is a legitimate consideration.
The second reason not to have a civilian investigation is that the international practice in democracies is not to have them. The investigations Israel is already holding are as professional and legally sound as those the Americans and Europeans hold, and their pressure on Israel to do more is hypocrisy (or power politics, which is similar). Remind me who headed the civilian investigation into the battles of Faluga, say?
The pros are more numerous. First, once the Barak Commission refutes the main findings of the Goldstone report - and it will, there can be no doubt about that - the world will have to divide itself on this matter into two clear camps. The one that accepts Israel as a democracy fighting an ugly enemy with reasonable measures and some room for improvement; and the one that uses whatever tools it can to attack Israel, irrespective of facts or rationality. True, the existing investigations should be enough, but for some people, Aharon Barak's presence will be reassuring.
This consideration also touches the whole issue of international law; a Barak Report will bolster the saner of its advocates and proponents.
Next, Israel has held such investigations for all its wars since 1973, and for various less-than-war cases in between. None of them have ever damaged us, and they've all strengthened us. There really is eternal room for improvement, and serious investigations by serious professionals always find valuable things.
Further, the reading of the Goldstone Report is uncomfortable. Yes, it's biases are outlandish, its methods are worse than primitive, and it's riddled by factual mistakes. Yet it's impossible not to read the litany of horrific things it describes and remain untouched. A civilian investigation would have the tools and the time to do what the individual reader cannot: sift through the endless details and do its best to reach the truth.
So, will there be such an investigation? I'd hazard the guess there won't. I don't see the Netanyahu government setting it up right now, since they've correctly decided to lambast the Goldstone Report with everything they've got; this, in spite of the fact that it wasn't them, it was the previous government (which contained the same minister of defense, that's true).
Should there be such an investigation? I think it would be the grown-up thing to do, yes.