U.N. Report on Israel’s War Crimes
7 May 09 | PTV
The United Nations report in Israels war in Gaza released on tuesday shows that Tel Aviv is responsible for war crimes in Gaza. (8:14):
UN experts plan to visit Gaza soon to investigate the Israeli war crimes during the three-week war on the Gaza Strip amid Israel’s opposition to the probe.
International human rights experts said on Friday that they renewed a call on Israel to fully cooperate with the probe into the alleged war crimes that left thousands of civilians killed and wounded.
Former UN war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone heads the team of four investigators who were appointed last month.
“In the course of its work, the mission intends to conduct visits to affected areas of southern Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza, and has requested the cooperation of the government of Israel in this regard,” the team said in a statement issued by the UN in Geneva on Friday.
Last month Israeli officials said that Israel would not cooperate with the UN investigation team, claiming that its military forces had acted professionally and tried to avoid civilian casualties during the offensive.
Israeli Gaza war crimes include the use of deadly white phosphorus shells in densely populated civilian areas. While Tel Aviv initially denied using the controversial weapon, mounting evidence later forced officials to admit having employed the shells.
In March, Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council in which he declared that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza and called for an independent inquiry into the issue.
He explained that Tel Aviv enforced an already crippling blockade on Gaza while bringing three weeks of devastation to the territory and preventing civilians from fleeing “from the orbit of harm”.
Falk, who himself is Jewish but was banned from Israel before the war, describes the operations against Gaza as a “military assault with modern weaponry against an essentially defenseless society”.
Earlier on Wednesday, a UN probe into the Israeli offensive against Gaza found Israel guilty of intentionally shelling a UN-run school and killing three people seeking shelter there. The raid was one of eight occasions where the Israeli army targeted UN personnel or facilities.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said he would pressure Israel to pay compensation in excess of the $11 million in damages caused to UN property.
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