Jerusalem, Jan.15 (ANI): A forum of Israeli human rights organizations has called on the country's political and military leadership to launch a domestic probe into "suspected war crimes" committed during Operation Cast Lead. In a letter warning of "a clear and present danger to the lives and well-being of tens of thousands of civilians," nine Israeli nongovernmental organizations addressed IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, and according to the Jerusalem Post, listed five steps that they said should be taken immediately to mitigate a humanitarian disaster.The missive blasted what it termed the "wanton use of lethal force" and warned that "after the end of the hostilities, the time will come for the investigation of this matter, and accountability will be demanded of those responsible for the violations."
They called on Mazuz to investigate the situation in Gaza, in light of the fact that no international tribunal exists to conduct an inquiry into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Mazuz's office said Wednesday afternoon that it was not familiar with the missive and could not comment on the possibility of a government probe.The letter was signed by representatives of Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; Amnesty International. Israel Section; Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights; B'tselem; Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement; Hamoked - Center for Defense of the Individual; Physicians for Human Rights - Israel; the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and Yesh Din. (ANI)