Israel to launch inquiry into war crimes in Gaza

Jerusalem: Israel’s state comptroller Wednesday announced to launch an inquiry into the military and political operation during the Gaza war, including possible war crimes and human rights violations.

State Comptroller Yossef Shapira said in a statement that the probe was trigged by mounting “claims that Israel allegedly violated the rules of international law and is not checking the actions of Israel Defence Forces as required by international law,” according to Xinhua.

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The inquiry will not focus primarily on war crimes, which Israel vehemently denies, but on the “decision-making processes on the military and political level during ‘Operation Protective Edge’, and the inspection and investigation mechanisms of the Israel Defence Forces and the government,” the statement said.

The probe was launched two days after the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed an international commission of inquiry to investigate possible violations of human rights and war crimes committed by both sides.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson Yigal Palmorhas has lashed out at the inquiry panel, describing it as “a kangaroo court, whose ‘investigations’ are pre-determined”.

Israel’s ambassador to the UN told Israel’s Army Radio Wednesday that Jerusalem is not likely to cooperate with the UN investigation.

Israel, which has long accused that UNHRC is biased, refused to cooperate with it on several occasions, and in 2012 even severed all of its connections with the council after it announced an investigation into the “implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people”.

Israel launched its Operation Defence Edge July 8, which has so far claimed the lives of at least 1,938 Palestinians, mostly civilians, according to Palestinian health officials. In Israel, 64 soldiers and three civilians were killed, according to Israeli military and police.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last month that she believes Israel was deliberately defying international law in Gaza, during deadly attacks on residential areas, schools, hospitals, and UN premises.