Wednesday, April 20, 2011

'US lobbied to block Gaza War report'

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice

Source: Press TV

The US administration of President Barack Obama has reportedly made efforts to block an independent UN investigation into Israel's war against the Gaza Strip.

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice was behind the move to prevent a more thorough UN investigation of alleged war crimes committed by Israeli troops during the 2008-2009 conflict, Foreign Policy cited diplomatic cables of WikiLeaks website.

In one cable, Rice spoke with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon repeatedly on May 4, 2009 to urge him to block an inquiry into Israel's attacks on UN sites in Gaza.

Rice "underscored the importance of having a strong cover letter that made clear that no further action was needed and would close out this issue," the US diplomatic cable said.

In another cable, Rice issued a veiled warning to the International Criminal Court that an investigation into alleged Israeli crimes could damage its standing with Washington.

The UN probe committee, headed by Richard Goldstone, accused Israel of committing war crimes by using disproportionate force, deliberately targeting civilians and using people as human shields.

The December 2008-January 2009 offensive left more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children, dead.

Under intensive pressure from the Israelis, Goldstone on April 3 announced that he was wrong to say Israel had deliberately targeted civilians.

Goldstone later announced that he has no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at the moment.

On Thursday, three of the co-authors of the report rejected calls to retract it. The report could pave the way for dragging Israel before the Hague tribunal for war crimes.

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