EU Delegation Urges Trial of Israeli War Criminals 17Jan10 January 18, 2010
The Palestine Chronicle -Â 17 January 2010
A high ranking European parliamentary delegation in the Gaza Strip has called for the prosecution of Israeli officials over war crimes in the territory.
The high ranking delegation which includes 60 parliament members of 12 European countries, crossed into the strip on Friday afternoon through Rafah border crossing, Xinhua reported.
Speaking at a press conference at the crossing, British Labor Party legislator, Sir Gerald Kaufmann who is also the head of the delegation described the visit as “a message of solidarity with Gaza to end the Israeli siege.”
“Our suffering to arrive here is nothing compared with the longsuffering of the Gaza Strip population due to the suffocating [and] unfair Israeli siege imposed on them,” said Kauffman.
He also called for the prosecution of Israeli officials who had “authorized the use of white phosphorus bombs” against the Palestinians during Tel Aviv’s December 2008-January 2009 offensive against the Gaza Strip which left over 1,400 Palestinians dead.
He also expressed support for the attempts by pro-Palestinian groups in Britain to seek arrest warrants for Israeli politicians and army officers in the country.
“We have had a fuss in our country about the inability of certain Israeli politicians to visit Britain for fear of being arrested,” said Kauffman adding that “anyone who uses the white phosphorus against civilians must be taken to court for war crimes.”
Israel canceled the visit of a delegation of senior military officers to the UK this month after Britain failed to guarantee that they would not be arrested over alleged war crimes.
The incident provoke anger among Israeli officials, who cried that the British legal system’s acceptance of pro-Palestinian group’s lawsuits was threatening to “undermine relations” between London and Tel Aviv.
Last month, the office of the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband issued a statement and called for an end to the “absurd situation,” in which arrest warrants were being issued against Israeli officials.
This is while, a report released by a UN fact-finding team headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone in September 2009 accused Israeli military forces of war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza.
Based on the report, Israel used disproportionate force and failed to protect civilians during its offensive on the territory.