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Israeli raid on Gaza aid flotilla broke law - UN probe

Israel's military broke international laws during its raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, a UN Human Rights Council investigation says.

The three-member panel said Israeli commandoes' response to the flotilla was "disproportionate" and "betrayed an unacceptable level of brutality".

Israel insists that its soldiers acted in self-defence during the 31 May raid.

Nine people were killed on board a Turkish ship as it tried to breach an Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.

There was widespread international criticism of Israel's actions, which severely strained relations with its long-time Muslim ally, Turkey.

Israeli rebuttal
In a 56-page report, the UN panel said: "There is clear evidence to support prosecutions of the following crimes within the terms of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: wilful killing; torture or inhuman treatment; wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health".

The Convention is an international treaty governing the protection of civilians in times of war.

The UN investigators also said the Israeli blockade of the Palestinian territory was "unlawful" because of a humanitarian crisis there.

Just before the report was released, Israel dismissed the Human Rights Council as being biased, politicised and extremist.

Israel also said that work on its own independent enquiry into the raid was still continuing.

The Israeli investigation has two foreign observers, but critics say its remit is too narrow.

There is also an ongoing separate UN enquiry - ordered by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon - into the raid.

Added: Sep-22-2010 
By: Xenophon
Middle East
Tags: turkey, Israel, military, law, un, international, waters, war, crime, muslim, jew, palestinian, treaty, aid, flotilla
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