/ 15 April 2009

Israel refuses to cooperate with Gaza war crimes probe

Israel has informed the United Nations it will refuse to cooperate with a probe of war crimes allegedly committed during the military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a senior official said.

”Israel has informed the UN Human Rights Council it will not cooperate with an investigation based on a biased resolution,” the official, who asked not to be named, told Agence France-Presse.

He said a letter to this effect was sent last week.

Israel had claimed earlier the probe sought to tarnish Israel’s reputation.

”The investigation has no moral ground since it decided even before it started who is guilty and of what,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmor said earlier this month.

Six days before the 22-day Gaza offensive ended, the UN council voted on January 12 to investigate ”grave” human rights violations by Israeli forces against the Palestinians.

Some Western countries said the resolution put forward by Arab and African states was too one-sided and failed to clearly recognise the role of rocket attacks launched by Palestinian militants in triggering the offensive.

Former chief prosecutor for war crimes in Yugoslavia and Rwanda Richard Goldstone has been named to head the probe. — AFP