“Falk: Gaza report puts Israeli officials on trial
Fri, 30 Oct 2009 10:44:06 GMT
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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and a special UN rapporteur on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, Richard Falk
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says the Goldstone Gaza report paves the way for indictment of Israeli officials by international courts.
Richard Falk, a special UN rapporteur, talked about the possibility of Israeli officials being tried in countries which abide to rules of international justice.
The top UN official, however, predicted that the United States will try its best to influence the International Criminal Court not to bring Israeli officials to the dock.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has meanwhile demanded that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights drop support for Goldstone Gaza report and spare no efforts to convince his European counterparts to oppose its adoption. His attempts have however proved futile.
Tel Aviv is worried that charges could be lodged against politicians and army officers for war crimes committed during Israel’s 22-day offensive against long-blockaded Gaza Strip. Top officials who would be in the judicial cross-hairs could include former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni as well as current Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
The UN-ordered Goldstone report on Israel’s offensive in Gaza details what investigators call Israeli actions “amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.” The 575-page account asserts seven incidents in which Palestinian civilians were shot while leaving their homes, trying to run for safety or waving white flags.
The report says Israel targeted a mosque at prayer time, killing 15 people, and shelled a Gaza City house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to assemble. These attacks constituted war crimes, the report pointed out.
The probe also found Israel violated international humanitarian law in several ways. Dozens of Palestinian policemen were killed at the start of Gaza onslaught when Israel bombed their stations. The security agents were not involved in hostilities and should have been treated as civilians. Palestinians in addition were forced to walk ahead of Israeli soldiers searching civilian neighborhoods.
More than 1,500 Palestinians, a large number of then women and children, were killed during three weeks of Israel’s land, sea and air assault, Operation Cast Lead , in the Palestinian impoverished coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted $ 1.6 billion damage to Gaza economy. “——–WE SHALL SEE!!