Israel denies again Gaza war crimes in response to UN report

Israel defended its killing of 1,424 Palestinians, a third of them were children, in last year's war in Gaza in a response to UN following a U.N. report on Israeli war.

Israel denies again Gaza war crimes in response to UN report

Israel defended its killing of 1,424 Palestinians, a third of them were children, in last year's war in Gaza in a submission to the United Nations on Friday following a U.N. report on Israeli war.

"The Israeli government handed this morning to the United Nations the report on all the actions and investigations taken with regards to incidents during Operation Cast Lead," the office of Defence Minister Ehud Barak said.

Israeli officials said their 36-page document detailed measures taken to investigate complaints and was not a direct rebuttal of the Goldstone report although it did address what they said were inaccuracies in it.

The report said the Israeli army during the Dec. 27, 2008 to Jan. 18, 2009 conflict.

But Israel rejected again the charges and called the report as "unbiased".

"I think this report again proves the fact that the IDF (Israel Defence Force) is the most responsible and serious army and operates in the most moral way," the statement quoted the minister as saying.

It called the Goldstone report -- the UN investigation which accused both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of war crimes during the three weeks of fighting -- "distorted, biased and unbalanced."

Israel launched on Dec. 27 a massive offensive in Gaza, killing more than 1434 Palestinians, a third of them children, and wounded at least 5300.

In its land, sea and ar offensive, Israel targeted hospitals, schools, mosques and government buildings and destroyed infrastructure system in Gaza, lefting Palestinians without electricity, gas and power.

The Jewish state refused to cooperate with Goldstone and angrily rejected his findings, Reuters said. On Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the report "distorted, biased and unbalanced."

But after the U.N. General Assembly in November called on Israel and the Palestinians to investigate Goldstone's charges and asked Ban to report back within three months, Israel decided it would provide Ban with information.

Israel this month paid the United Nations $10.5 million for damage to U.N. property during the Gaza war.

Israeli diplomats said their mission had handed their document, entitled "Gaza Operation Investigations: An Update," to U.N. officials. Ban is required to report to the General Assembly next Friday.

"This document deals with the investigations following Cast Lead," said a senior Israeli diplomat who asked not to be named.

"It's not a rebuttal (of Goldstone). It's an update on where do the investigations by Israel (stand)." The Israeli army had launched some 150 investigations of alleged misconduct by its troops, of which 36 had been referred to a criminal investigation, he claimed.

The report also accused Hamas of seevral crimes during the war.

On Thursday, Hamas said it was giving the United Nations a 52-page report on the Gaza war. It rejected charges of war crimes but said three Israeli civilians killed in rocket attacks by its members during the war were hit by mistake.

The Palestinian Authority said it also handed the world body details of a commission of inquiry it had set up, along with preliminary findings, as a deadline looms for U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to report on Gaza to the General Assembly.

Hamas said on Thursday it too had prepared a response to the U.N. report issued last September by a panel headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to reopen all Gaza's border crossings so that people and goods can move freely. Gaza has been under heavy blockade for most of the time since Hamas took power there in June 2007.

Agencies

Last Mod: 31 Ocak 2010, 11:30
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