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Hamas: Reprimands prove Israel committed war crimes

Feb. 2, 2010 10:42 A.M. (Updated: Feb. 3, 2010 11:40 P.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – Israel's willingness to punish its own officers is proof enough the country's armed forces committed war crimes, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said on Tuesday.

The statement followed news reports that Israel took disciplinary action for over a brigadier general and a colonel for their actions during last year's war on Gaza. The disciplinary measures were announced in Israel's official response to the UN's fact-finding mission, which was led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.

Barhoum said that even the "occupation's allegation that it punished its officers for their crimes in Gaza" was "clear evidence and condemnation, [amounting to] official recognition of the commission of war crimes against the Palestinian people."

Although later news reports in Israel said military officials "flatly denied" that there had in fact been any disciplinary action, Barhoum nevertheless called the reported move to punish soldiers an attempt to "escape from the International Criminal Court, particularly since the results of the Goldstone report are now on their way to the [UN] Security Council."

Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority submitted official reports on the progress of internal investigations of allegations made by the UN-backed report, while Hamas officials promised a response in the coming days.
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