PA wants foreign nationals serving in IDF investigated for war crimes

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 6:18am

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Malki called on foreign governments whose citizens serve in the Israel Defense Forces to investigate them for war crimes in Gaza.

Malki sent a letter to the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Canada, South Africa and five Latin American countries on Tuesday, as well as to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, reminding the countries that under international law they are required to investigate their citizen’s alleged violations of international law, the British newspaper The Guardian reported Wednesday.

He also called on the countries to warn their foreign nationals that they could be investigated and prosecuted.

The letter calls on the countries to identify their nationals serving in the IDF, notify them of their possible war crimes, and to investigate and possibly prosecute them.

Malki’s letter alleges that Israeli troops have “committed war crimes during the repeated assaults on Gaza in the present, as in the past. They have engaged in indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks. Such actions have caused death and injury to thousands of Palestinian civilians, including children, and massive destruction to civilian properties, in grave breach of international humanitarian and human rights law.”

The letter singled out Israeli citizens with dual citizenship in a second country, non-Israeli volunteers through the IDF’s “Mahal” programs and volunteers in the Sar-El program, which brings Jewish volunteers from around the world to Israel to volunteer at military bases around the country.

Two American citizens volunteering in the IDF were killed during Israel’s operation in Gaza.

The United Nations has established an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes and human rights violations committed by both sides during the Gaza conflict. Israel has not yet agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

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