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Israel/OT: Nothing to hide? Amnesty International head calls on Israel to cooperate with UN inquiry

'It is vital that the Israeli government allows the expert UN fact-finding team to commence its work, with full independence, without further delay,' said Ms Khan. 'The three members are known for their expertise and independence. There should be no deal which undermines the search for truth.'

'It is in Israel's interest that an authoritative investigation establishes what happened in Jenin. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must give the UN team their full cooperation, including in the interests of peace and security in the region.'

'It is the right of victims and their families to know the truth,' Ms Khan added.

Ms Khan and other Amnesty International delegates, including a military advisor, have been visiting Israel and the Occupied Territories where they will be meeting with Palestinian and Israeli victims of human rights abuses, Members of the Knesset, and Palestinian and Israeli members of Amnesty International. The delegation is also meeting with human rights defenders who are continuing their work in extraordinarily difficult circumstances.

Ms Khan visited Jenin refugee camp yesterday and said Amnesty International delegates had found credible evidence of grave breaches of international humanitarian law and violations of human rights during the IDF incursion into the camp between 3 and 17 April.

'There is an urgent need for a thorough, independent and impartial investigation,' she said.

For more than 10 days ambulances, medical and humanitarian aid workers were blocked by Israeli Defence Forces from entering the camp. The dead and wounded remained in houses and on the streets. Part of the camp is now a vast compacted pile of rubble, more than 100 houses bulldozed, apparently after Palestinian armed groups had surrendered and ceased resistance.

There is no conceivable military reason which would justify such devastation - it appears to be a clear breach of international humanitarian law,' commented Ms Khan.

'Victims of human rights abuses, Palestinians and Israelis, are entitled to justice. Establishing the truth is the first step to accountability and justice. Justice and respect for human rights, including the rule of law, are the cornerstones to any durable solution to the spiralling violence,' said Ms Khan.

She called upon the UN Security Council to take prompt action to ensure that the Secretary-General's fact-finding team proceed without further delay and that its earlier resolutions, which stress the need for all concerned to ensure the safety of civilians and to respect the universally accepted norms of international humanitarian law, are immediately implemented.

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