Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

"Israel will not cooperate with UN Gaza inquiry," AlertNet/Reuters, April 15, 2009.

JERUSALEM, April 15 (Reuters) - Israel does not plan to cooperate with a U.N. agency's investigation into alleged war crimes by Israeli troops and Hamas militants during fighting in Gaza, an Israeli government official said on Wednesday.

Israeli forces launched a 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in late December with the stated goal of stopping cross-border rockets fired by Palestinian militants.

According to a Palestinian rights group, 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, were killed in the fighting. Israel disputes those figures.

The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed former U.N. war crimes prosector Richard Goldstone this month to head the investigation into allegations of human rights violations by both sides during the Dec. 27 to Jan. 18 conflict.

The Israeli government official said a letter was sent to Goldstone, a South African judge, through the Israeli embassy in Geneva informing him and the council that Israel believed it was "impossible to cooperate with the committee" in its inquiry.

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