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Saturday, January 31, 2009

US: Israel must probe war crimes

Fri, 30 Jan 2009 19:27:04 GMT | PressTV

The US envoy to the
United Nations says
Israel must investigate allegations that its army violated international law during the war in Gaza.
The new US envoy to the UN says Israel must investigate the allegations that its army has committed war crimes during the war on Gaza.

"We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate", Ambassador Susan Rice said in her debut speech before the UN Security Council.

The use of controversial chemical white phosphorous shells and depleted uranium munitions, indiscriminate firing during the offensive in the densely-populated coastal sliver, the shelling of a UN school turned refugee camp, as well as the question as to whether other Israeli military tactics were in breach of humanitarian laws are among the issues Tel Aviv has been charged with.

Israel however rejects the war crimes allegations, saying that it is fighting a 'noble war' against Hamas -- the democratically-elected ruler of the Gaza Strip.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the UN would be conducting a separate investigation into the Israeli attacks on its sites in Gaza, Reuters reported.

This is while Rice has asked the international community "to refrain from politicizing these important issues."

"There have also been numerous allegations made against Israel some of which are deliberately designed to inflame," she told the council during a meeting on international humanitarian law.

She also accused Hamas of violating international law "through its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in southern Israel and the use of civilian facilities to provide protection for its terrorist attacks."

Gaza fighters say the rocket launches are retaliatory measures in response to Israel's deadly blockade on the costal strip and the frequent overnight incursions by Israeli troops, who kill or kidnap Palestinians in the area.

Tel Aviv used the shelling as a pretext to launch an all-out military campaign against the beleaguered Gaza Strip. The onslaught resulted in the deaths of over 1,330 Palestinians - mostly women and children - and left over 4,450 others wounded.

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