Israel refuses cooperation with UN Gaza war probe, calls it ‘one-sided’
Israel has officially declined to cooperate with the UN Human Rights Council committee’s investigation into the country's 50-day 'Operation Protective Edge' over possible war crimes committed, saying it is obvious the probe will find it guilty.
The Israeli government refused entry to the investigation team on Wednesday, which arrived in Jordan’s capital of Amman with plans to travel through Israel and into the Gaza Strip.
The decision not to cooperate was due to the team’s “one-sided” view of the events, Haaretz reported, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon.
“The council’s obsessive hostility toward Israel, the committee’s one-sided mandate and committee chairman William Schabas’ declared anti-Israeli positions” were listed as reasons for refusal by Nachshon.
The spokesman referred to the investigation as “a pretense that some inquiry is being held before the conclusions are published.”
“While Hamas launched thousands of rockets at Israel, the UN’s Human Rights Council made a decision stating Israel’s guilt in advance and set up a probe as a rubber stamp for its known positions,” he said.
The move to reject cooperation did not come as a surprise, despite the fact that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made the official decision only on Tuesday.
Nevertheless, Israeli authorities will maintain indirect contact with the investigation, according to Haaretz.
The committee still expects to receive documents from Israel outlining how Hamas used civilians as shields and committed other war crimes during the war in Gaza.
Soon after the investigative committee was announced in August, Netanyahu blasted the idea, accusing the organization of bias and the legitimization of Hamas.
“UNHRC gives legitimacy to murderous terror organizations like Hamas and Daash (Islamic State),” Netanyahu said.
READ MORE: Netanyahu blasts at UN rights body for ‘legitimizing terror group’ with Gaza war crimes probeThe committee is scheduled to publish its investigation findings in March 2015. Operation Protective Edge was launched by Israel on July 8, 2014 and resulted in the deaths of some 2,200 people – the majority of them from Gaza.
Israel previously refused to cooperate with a UN inquiry following Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009.