Friday, October 2, 2009

Netanyahu nixes call for Israeli inquiry into Gaza war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has nixed the idea of setting up an inquiry committee into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip as a means of dealing with the Goldstone Commission's report.

Click here for more on the Goldstone commission report on the Gaza conflict

That report, submitted to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes during their three-week conflict in Gaza in January and recommends that both be referred to the International Criminal Court for prosecution unless they carry out in-house investigations that the UN deems adequate within six months. The council is slated to vote on the matter tomorrow.

Various prominent Israelis have therefore argued that the only way to quash the report is to set up an inquiry commission headed by an internationally respected jurist like former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak.

But Netanyahu, who held two meetings on the subject on Wednesday, believes a more effective way of blocking the report would be to make it clear to the international community that referral to the ICC would sound the death knell of the peace process.

And while Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Wednesday that Defense Minister Ehud Barak favors the inquiry commission route, Barak himself denied the report yesterday. His office confirmed that he has asked Aharon Barak to contribute to the legal battle against the report, but said he opposes an inquiry commission.

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