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Monday, January 26, 2009

'Israelis can't escape crime charges'

Mon, 26 Jan 2009 09:48:14 GMT | PressTV

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki
The Palestinian FM deflates Israeli cabinet's pledge to provide legal protection to military and civilian personnel involved in Gaza raid.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki made the comments a day after Israeli Prime Minster Ehud Olmert defended the 23-day aggression in the Gaza Strip and pledged to protect the military against international calls for an investigation of potential war crimes.

"The soldiers and commanders who were sent on missions in Gaza must know that they are safe from various tribunals and that the state of Israel will assist them on this issue and defend them," Olmert said before his weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday.

At talks in Brussels with European Union ministers, al-Malki stated that Olmert's pledge of protection concerning foreign prosecution over alleged war crimes can in no way prevent such legal action.

"I think the decision taken by Israeli government is not going to prevent all these governments and human right organizations in world to really see through and make a legal case against all Israeli leaders for the death in Gaza," al-Malki said.

"It does not mean there is immunity against legal actions," al-Malki said as he met with counterparts from the European Union, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan. He added, "I think more of such efforts will be seen also in the near future.''

Israel is concerned that its officers could be subject to international prosecution because of the alleged use of illegal weapons including white phosphorus and depleted uranium and the killings of a large number of civilian in the Palestinian coastal silver.

Israel's use of the illegal weapons on the civilian population of Gaza first came to light when foreign doctors working in Gaza hospitals told Press TV that they have found strange burns and traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel's ground offensive on the strip.

The assault killed over 1,330 Palestinians with 460 of them children. In addition to the civilian death toll, Israel faces war crimes charges because of the use of white phosphorous in Gaza and the shelling of UN schools and installations that were serving as shelters.

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