Israel's 'war crimes in Gaza' asked to be probed

Israel killed 1,200 Palestinians, of whom 410 are children in Gaza, also shelled UN-run buildings.

Israel's 'war crimes in Gaza' asked to be probed
U.N. officials have said war crimes may have been committed during Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip.

U.N. officials expressed outrage after Israeli tank fire killed two boys in a U.N. school on Saturday. John Ging, the head of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza, said he was concerned about possible war crimes.

"These two little boys are as innocent, indisputably, as they are dead," Ging told Reuters. "The question now being asked is: is this and the killing of all other innocent civilians in Gaza a war crime?"

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for independent investigations into possible war crimes after Israel's shelling of another U.N. school compound killed 42 people, including women and children, on Jan. 6.

The number of Palestinian dead in Israel violence-- 1,200, of whom 410 are children -- has also led to calls by human rights groups and aid workers for Israel to face examination under international criminal law, specifically on the issue of "proportionality in the prosecution of the war."

"We've used artillery shells, tanks and helicopters for close-range assistance. I don't remember when we ever fired mortars in Gaza before," a battalion commander told Haaretz newspaper, which described Israel as acting like a steamroller.

A Palestinian rights group on Wednesday urged the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel, producing a 25-page petition saying that "Israel was using terrorist weapons to conduct crimes against humanity".

Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, did not accept the UN probe, saying Israel's army had "nothing to answer for".

"The army has a legal department that advises it and gives its opinion on measures that are taken," he said.

"As far as we know, the army has "not done anything that is contrary to international law."

Reuters
Last Mod: 18 Ocak 2009, 15:57
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