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B'Tselem: Israel, Palestinians must assist UN in Gaza probe

April 6, 2009 5:16 P.M. (Updated: April 6, 2009 5:16 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - A leading Israeli human rights organization praised the appointment of jurist Richard Goldstone to head a fact-finding mission, called for by the UN Human Rights Council, to investigate the recent fighting in Gaza.

"Particularly welcome is the delegation's mandate, which covers violations of international humanitarian law by both sides, in the Gaza Strip and in Israel," B'Tselem said in a statement sent to Ma'an.

"B'Tselem believes that the delegation's mandate and its composition provide the basic conditions necessary for an independent, fair, and credible investigation. However, the delegation's success depends on the full cooperation of both sides," the statement said.

"A balanced and objective investigation is clearly in Israel's best interest. Victims of the recent fighting - Palestinians as well as Israelis - have a right to a remedy, including recognition of their suffering and accountability for those who violated their rights," B'Tselem said.

Toward this end, B'Tselem called on the government of Israel to enable the delegation to enter Israel and the Gaza Strip.

Also, the group insisted that Israel provide the delegation with all relevant materials in its possession so that the members will have before them the considerations that guided the military in determining the targets that were bombed and the weapons that were used, as well as the orders given to the ground troops.

"Israel has made grave allegations regarding the combat of Hamas fighters. This evidence must also be provided to the mission," B'Tselem added.
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