Last Updated: Mon Nov 01, 2010 11:54 am (KSA) 08:54 am (GMT)

Palestinians submit Gaza report to UN

Hamas said it investigated the UN allegations and found no evidence of war crimes (File)
Hamas said it investigated the UN allegations and found no evidence of war crimes (File)

The Palestinians on Friday handed over to the United Nations a preliminary report on how they plan to probe war crimes allegedly committed by Palestinian militants during last year's Gaza war, their UN envoy said.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian observer to the U.N., told reporters that he submitted to U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's chief of staff Vijay Nambiar a preliminary report by a commission of five well-known judges and legal experts set up by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

In doing so, he said the Palestinian side "met the deadline in submitting what is required from it".

Last November, the 192-member U.N. General Assembly endorsed an enquiry panel report that accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes during the devastating 22-day conflict and gave the two sides until Feb. 5 to conduct independent probes of the charges.

Wednesday, the Islamist Hamas movement said it investigated the allegations in the U.N. report and absolved Palestinian armed groups of any atrocities.

Hamas, which along with other armed groups has launched thousands of makeshift rockets into southern Israel in recent years, said a committee it appointed to follow up on the report found no intention to harm civilians.

The Palestinian Authority that Mansour represents has no control over Gaza and played no direct role in the conflict there. Asked if the commission would nevertheless visit Gaza, he said, "That is the idea."

Israeli investigation

 Any time there is any kind of complaint or allegation it is investigated and all this is written 
Israeli diplomat

Israeli diplomats said their mission had handed a document, entitled "Gaza Operation Investigations: An Update," to U.N. officials. Ban is required to report to the General Assembly next Friday.

According to Israeli officials, the 36-page document detailed measures taken to investigate complaints and was not a direct rebuttal of the Goldstone report although it did address what they said were inaccuracies in it.

"This document deals with the investigations following Cast Lead," said a senior Israeli diplomat who asked not to be named. "It's a good contribution to (Ban's) report, without recognizing the Goldstone process."

"It's not a rebuttal (of Goldstone). It's an update on where do the investigations by Israel (stand)." The Israeli army had launched some 150 investigations of alleged misconduct by its troops, of which 36 had been referred to a criminal investigation, he said.

"Any time there is any kind of complaint or allegation it is investigated and all this is written" in the document, the diplomat said. He added that the document "definitely notes some of the (Goldstone) report's inaccuracies and misinformation without being a direct response to it."

That Israel and both Palestinian factions produced some sort of response reflected all sides' desire to appear to be cooperating with Ban. Despite its fury at Goldstone's report, Israel this month paid the United Nations $10.5 million for damage to U.N. property during the Gaza war.

More than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died after Israel launched Operation Cast Lead against Gaza to try to end rocket fire against its cities. Critics charged that Israel used excessive and indiscriminate firepower but Israel blamed the militants for hiding among civilians.

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