US task force won't examine genocide claims in W. Bank or Gaza

Force made of prominent former US officials announced several days ago will be working over 2008 to help administration best respond to and prevent genocide.

The newly formed Genocide Prevention Task Force has indicated that it will not be examining whether Israel has committed genocide in the West Bank and Gaza despite earlier statements that it would be addressing the subject. The task force of prominent former US officials was announced at a press conference Tuesday and will be working over the next year to help the American government best respond to and prevent genocide. Though one of the cochairs, former US defense secretary William Cohen, originally said that the situation in the West Bank and Gaza would be considered, the task force later clarified that such an inquiry would be beyond the scope of the panel. "Its task is not to determine which situations, past or present, including the West Bank and Gaza, constitute genocide, but to develop policy recommendations that enable the United States to prevent future genocides from occurring," Cohen, along with cochair Madeleine Albright, said in a statement issued Tuesday night. Cohen and Albright, a former US secretary of state who was appointed along with Cohen by former US president Bill Clinton, will be working on the yearlong project with other top former US policy-makers and politicians, including Jack Kemp, who served as a Republican senator, and erstwhile US Middle East envoy Gen. Anthony Zinni. The task force will look at specific areas of action, including early warnings, preventative diplomacy, work with international institutions and military intervention, and will make recommendations in December 2008.