The UN has charged three experts with heading a panel responsible for looking into possible war crimes committed by the Israeli army in its recent military operation in the Gaza Strip.
The UN said that the committee will investigate “all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law… in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014.”
Israel has dismissed the enquiry as a “kangaroo court”.
“This commission’s anti-Israeli conclusions have already been written, all it needs is a signature,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.
Israel also objected to the naming of Canadian international lawyer William Schabas as the head of the panel, as some in the country regard Schabas as being hostile towards Israel.
“For this commission the important thing is not human rights but the rights of terrorist organisations like Hamas,” Palmor told AFP.
Schabas has denied the allegations of being biased against Israel.
“I’ve frequently lectured in Israel, at universities in Israel, I’m a member of the editorial board of the Israel law review, I wouldn’t do those things if I was anti-Israel,” he said.
He also challenged Palmor’s assertion that the panel had already established Israel’s guilt.
“As far as I’m concerned they’re not written at all, that’s the whole point of an investigation,” he said.
“Many of the questions we have to examine will deal with very precise matters on which the generalities about the conflict don’t provide any insight,” Schabas added.
“When we look at specific incidents in which… civilians were killed during the conflict, there are issues about targeting, about proportionality, each one of these has to be examined specifically.”
Israel’s assault on Gaza has been drawing increasing international condemnation due to the highly disproportionate killing of Palestinian civilians, as several international monitors estimate that out of the nearly 2,000 people killed in Gaza, the vast majority of them were civilians.