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Palestinians ask world court to probe Israel action 
02/14/2009 09:56 AM | Agencies

Hague: The Palestinian foreign minister has urged the International
Criminal Court's (ICC) prosecutor to start an investigation into
whether Israel committed war crimes during its offensive in Gaza.
Riyad Al Maliki told reporters after meeting Prosecutor Luis
Moreno-Ocampo that he was confident the court would act after
evaluating the Palestinian Authority's petition.
"Today we have come to deliver to the prosecutor a set of documents
that show that Palestine as a state has the validity to represent its
case to the court," Maliki said.
"We've come to ask for justice and to ask for an investigation into
the crimes committed by the Israelis and Israeli army in Gaza
recently," he said. "We expect the prosecution to take actions."
The Israeli army waged a three-week war in Gaza against Hamas
militants at the turn of the year, but Israeli officials deny
accusations of war crimes arising from the fighting.
Last week Moreno-Ocampo's office said it had started a "preliminary
analysis" to establish whether Israel committed war crimes, after
receiving 210 communications from individuals and non-governmental
organizations regarding events in Gaza.
The prosecutor has said that the preliminary analysis does not necessarily mean 
an investigation will be opened.
The ICC can investigate alleged war crimes in the territory of a
state party, if the UN Security Council - where the United States has
veto power - refers a situation to the court or if a non-state party
voluntarily accepts the jurisdiction of the court.
Israel and the United States are not among the 108 countries that
have signed the Rome Statute creating the court, but that would not
prevent the ICC from launching an investigation.
The Palestinian Authority has recognized the jurisdiction of the
ICC, in a move designed to allow investigations of alleged crimes in
the Palestinian territories.
Maliki, who was also meeting Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen
later on Friday, said he had agreed with the ICC prosecutor to maintain
contact and "provide him with all the information that is really needed
to build a case."
Some 1,300 Palestinians, including at least 700 civilians, were
killed during Israel's Gaza offensive, according to the Hamas-run
Health Ministry in the territory. Israel put its own dead at 10
soldiers and three civilians. 
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