Israel PM Complains to UN Chief Over Gaza Probe

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Israel PM Complains to UN Chief Over Gaza Probe

File photo of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Reuters)

Jerusalem:  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has complained to UN chief Ban Ki-moon that a probe by the world body into the Gaza war is one-sided, his foreign ministry said Wednesday.

At a meeting with Ban on Tuesday in New York, Netanyahu charged that the UN Human Rights Council "is not focusing its inquiry on Hamas, which used UN facilities in order to fire at Israel," a ministry statement said.

Israel has accused Hamas of firing rockets from densely-populated civilian areas during the war and from UN schools, and the army released videos it says proves such claims.

The UN itself condemned Gaza militants for storing rockets in a school early in the 50-day conflict, which ended with an August 26 ceasefire.

Israeli shelling hit several UN schools sheltering displaced Palestinians, killing scores of people.

Israel claimed militants had directed rocket fire from the area, but its strikes were denounced by the world body.

Netanyahu said the UN's conduct towards Israel was "disproportionate" and insisted that his country "did not direct its attacks against civilians."

The commission probing Israel's Gaza offensive has said it is also investigating Hamas's actions in the war.

Nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed along with 73 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

UNHRC spokesman Rolando Gomez told AFP in August that both Israel and Hamas "will be subjected to a thorough investigation."

Israel has strongly opposed the commission's probe, the results of which will be published in March 2015.

According to the UN, Ban told Netanyahu of the "urgent need to address the underlying causes of the crisis, including the need to lift the closure of Gaza," in reference to the Israeli blockade which has been in place since 2006.

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Lifting the blockade is seen as key to consolidating the ceasefire in Gaza.

The UN said Ban had also voiced "deep concern at (Israel's) continued settlement activity" on Palestinian land, raising a thorny issue which is viewed as illegal by the international community and has repeatedly derailed peace talks with the Palestinians.

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