Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Israel rules out Independent probe of Gaza war

Source: PressTV

Israel has disdained international calls to conduct an independent probe into the war crimes its forces have been charged with during its 2008 Gaza offensive.

The call for an internal investigation of the alleged - and documented - war crimes is part of a damning report by a UN fact-finding mission led by the South African Judge Richard Goldstone.

The 575-page report mostly highlighted Israeli war crimes such as deliberately targeting centers known to be holding Palestinian civilians and shooting civilians on the run, including some that were waving white flags.

"Israel has no intention of creating a verification commission," Tel Aviv's Information and Diaspora Minister Yuli Edelstein said in New York on Tuesday, a day after meeting the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. He added that he had informed Ban of the Israeli intentions during their Monday meeting.

The refusal came two days before the Israeli minister submits Tel Aviv's official response to charges of war crimes over the three-week war the regime's forces waged against the densely-populated coastal strip, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and leaving tens of thousands more injured.

Meanwhile, the Israeli media have suggested the possibility of a limited inquiry to help Tel Aviv deflect a portion of the widespread international condemnation it is facing over the Gaza offensive.

In his report, Mr. Goldstone suggested that its conclusions be referred to the Hague-based International Criminal Court if Israel and Hamas fail to carry out convincing probes into their actions within six months.

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly endorsed the report in November, in the face of fierce opposition from Israel and the United States, who pledged to take a stance against the report in support of its closest Middle East ally.

The General Assembly consequently called on both sides to carry out investigations "that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards" by February 5.

Israel has been striving to suppress the Goldstone report since it was released in September, vowing to fight any efforts to bring the Israeli initiators of the 22-day aggression to trial.

On Tuesday, Edelstein made the claim that the report is stirring up “anti-Semitism” and “reinforcing Holocaust deniers,” despite the fact that its South African author is Jewish himself.

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