05/06/2009, 00.00
UNITED NATIONS – ISRAEL
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UN accuses Israel of deliberately targeting its installations in Gaza

The board of inquiry blames Israel for attacks against schools, a hospital and UNRWA headquarters. Israel slams the report as “tendentious, patently biased,” and that it “ignores the facts” in “both spirit and language”.
New York (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A United Nations inquiry into attacks on UN installations by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip found that Israel was to blame. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon indicated that Israel was responsible for attacks against schools, a hospital and UNRWA headquarters. In six of nine incidents the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was directly responsible.

The board of inquiry also criticised Israel's use of white phosphorus shells, accusing the IDF of “varying degrees of negligence or recklessness” towards UN staff and civilians inside its buildings.

Ban did nevertheless stress that “Israeli civilians in southern Israel faced and continue to face indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas and other militant groups” and that the report is “not a legal document”. Other investigations will be conducted to determine whether charges of war crimes can be brought against the IDF.

Israel blasted the report, saying that “in both spirit and language” it was “tendentious, patently biased,’ that it “ignores the facts presented to the committee”.

In rejecting UN criticism Defence Minister Ehud Barak said that Israel had “the most moral army in the world,” insisting that the “IDF commanders and soldiers made every effort to avoid hurting uninvolved civilians.”

In a press release Israel’s Foreign Ministry, which is headed by Avigdor Lieberman, reiterated its claim that Hamas is to blame, insisting that UN installations were bombed because terrorists were intentionally operating there in order to use UN staff and buildings as shields.

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Gaza border closed, humanitarian aid at risk
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