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France, UK, US, urge Israel to investigate war crimes findings

Oct. 15, 2009 9:43 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 16, 2009 9:56 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma’an/Agencies - Britain, France and the United States each separately advised Israel to conduct independent and credible investigations into allegations of war crimes committed by its forces in Gaza last winter, media sources reported.

The nations voiced their concerns on the issue of the Goldstone report during a UN Security Council session Thursday, in which Israeli representative to the body Gabriela Shalev called the document a “report which has fallen straight into the strategic trap guided by terror organizations across the world.”

Despite US reservations on the “unbalanced” nature of the report, Deputy US Ambassador to the United Nations Alejandro Wolff said, "We take the allegations in the report seriously," and urged Israel to “carry out serious investigations of these allegations.”

Wolff said the US would not pressure Hamas into similar action because it does not have the institutions or capability to conduct such an investigation into its own conduct.

In a speech to bereaved families in Gaza, de facto Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told the group, “If there is a concern about how the report will affect the peoples’ right to resistance vis-à-vis the Goldstone report, that in no way means we have withdrawn our support for the document in general.”

Haniyeh cited the unwavering support de facto government officials gave the Goldstone commission while they were in Gaza, and compared their willingness to work with the UN-mission to Israel’s blatant obstruction. The Israeli government refused to provide the mission with information, and even access to the country to interview what it calls victims of Hamas terrorism in families that live in the Gaza border towns like Sderot.

British Ambassador John Sawers echoed Wolff’s call and urged Israel to conduct “full, credible and impartial investigations into the allegations," noting the Israeli military investigation was insufficient. That report found no evidence of war crimes or misconduct.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud urged both sides to initiate "independent inquiries in line with international standards." Araud’s call was seconded by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

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