World Bulletin / News Desk
Israel has given the justice minister the work to avoid the calls of war crimes during its 22-day Gaza assault and also banned identifying Israeli soldiers involved in offensive.
Israeli army said it would not reveal the names of the battalion commanders who oversaw the assault in the overcrowded slums and cities of Gaza "on the ground that they could face arrest and prosecution for war crimes if they travelled abroad", reported Timesonline.
The Israel said that it "started" an investigation into the use of white phosphorus shells in densely populated areas without more details.
The inquiry came after the United Nations agency responsible for looking after Palestinian refugees has released photographs of what appears to be white phosphorus raining down on a UN school in Beit Lahiya on January 17.
The pictures show terrified Palestinians fleeing from burning lumps of the material, which can burn through skin to the bone. Paramedics sprint away from the incandescent core of the explosion as it engulfs a Red Crescent ambulance, before they return with stretchers to evacuate the victims.
Amnesty International, which has investigators in Gaza, said that it had found indisputable evidence that white phosphorus was used by Israeli forces in densely populated areas.
Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Kashan, meanwhile, was on Thursday in The Hague, where he held talks with International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an official said.
Eight Israeli human rights groups have also called on the Israeli government to investigate given the scale of the casualties, describing the number of dead women and children as terrifying.
Israel's Haaretz daily on Wednesday reported that an army investigation into the use of phosphorus was focused on an incident in which 20 shells of it were fired into a populated area.
It said the shelling occurred in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. This is where Abu Halima was burned on Jan. 4 during a daytime attack that killed her husband and a son, the 45-year-old woman said.
Medical officials in Gaza reported during the Israeli offensive that two Palestinian children were killed and 14 people suffered severe burns on Jan. 17 when Israeli shells landed in a U.N.-run school in the Beit Lahiya area.
Preparedness against war crime charges
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the justice minister the work to avoid the calls of war crimes during its 22-day Gaza assault and also banned identifying Israeli soldiers involved in offensive, a government source said Friday.
Daniel Friedman will lead an inter-ministerial team to coordinate a legal defence for civilians and the military, the source said.
Ehud Barak, the Defence Minister and architect of the offensive, ordered the army to establish an incrimination team of intelligence and legal experts to examine any evidence that could be used against Israeli officials in law suits.
That could possibly include Ma-jor-General Yoav Galant, the chief of Israel's southern command, as well as other senior officers.
Israel killed more than 1,300 Palestinians with a third of children and also wounded at least 5300 according to human rights groups.
Israeli massive offensive also destroyed UN schools and the main aid headquarters where tonnes of food was stocked were bombed beside mosques, hospitals, government buildings.
Most of the cases in the rundown and overworked Shifa hospital are people wounded by more conventional weapons.