PA to send medical team to Gaza to 'document war crimes'

The medical team will be assisted by foreign physicians and experts, says PA minister; "This time Israel would not escape punishment," says minister.

August 6, 2014 18:00
2 minute read.
Mahmoud Abbas

PA president Mahmoud Abbas (center) attends a meeting of the PLO Central Council in Ramallah yesterday. . (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)

The Palestinian Authority said Wednesday that it was planning to send a medical team to the Gaza Strip to “document war crimes committed by Israel during the last war.”

The PA plans to send members of its Civil Defense Force and bulldozers to the Gaza Strip to help remove the rubble of destroyed houses and pull out bodies.

Shawki Issa, a PA minister in charge of the government’s Central Emergency Unit, said that the medical team would be assisted by foreign physicians and experts.

Issa told the Ramallah-based Wattan news website that “this time Israel would not escape punishment. The time has come to  hold Israel accountable and we will do so.”

Issa’s announcement came a day after PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki met with the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague to discuss the possibility of filing war crimes charges against Israel.

Malki was quoted as claiming that there was “clear evidence” of war crimes perpetrated by Israel during Operation Protection Edge.

“The State of Palestine is taking all necessary measures to sign the Rome Statute [which enables it join the ICC]. We will prepare all our files and present them to the court,” Issa said.

He said that the Palestinian medical team and international physicians and experts would try to collect evidence that Israel used prohibited weapons during the war.

PA Health Minister Jawad Awwad said that his government had dispatched an initial delegation of physicians to the Gaza Strip to treat the wounded.

Another delegation consisting of 23 physicians and nurses would travel to the Strip shortly, he added.

Nabil Sha’ath, member of the Fatah Central Committee, joined calls for punishing Israel over war crimes allegedly committed during the war.

Sha’ath told foreign diplomats in Ramallah that Israel “must be punished and held accountable for its cruel crimes against civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

Meanwhile, the Arab League announced plans to send a ministerial delegation to the Gaza Strip in the next few days to “examine the situation and humanitarian needs of the Palestinians” – with the emphasis on rebuilding.

Informed Palestinian sources revealed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was considering a cabinet reshuffle to tackle the issue of reconstruction in the Strip.

The sources told the Palestinian daily Al-Quds that Abbas would coordinate the planned reshuffle with Hamas. “We are talking about a new government that would be able to address the issue of reconstructing the Gaza Strip following the huge damage caused by the war,” the sources said.

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