Thursday, 16 April 2009

Israel above the law

This from the AP newsagency:

Israel is unlikely to cooperate with a Gaza war crimes probe because it distrusts the UN agency sponsoring the investigation, an Israeli government official said.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers said they would work with investigators from the UN Human Rights Council which ordered the investigation in January, shortly after Israel’s three-week military offensive in Gaza.

The Israeli government official said Israel sent its response concerning cooperation to the UN agency a week ago.

He said Israel is “very unlikely” to cooperate. He spoke on condition of anonymity and said he could not elaborate because it’s not clear whether the head of the investigation, Richard Goldstone has been briefed.

Israel’s likely refusal to work with Goldstone raises questions about whether he will be able to carry out his mission.

Investigators have not yet said when they will visit the region, but without Israeli cooperation they would be denied access to crucial information from the military.

Goldstone, 70, is Jewish, has close ties to Israel and is known for his impartiality.

But Israeli diplomats said their opposition has nothing to do with who heads the investigation.

Yousef Rizka, an adviser to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, said that the investigators “will find full cooperation of the Palestinian government and Palestinian people because the crimes of the occupation are clear and no one can underestimate them.”

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