Israel readies to respond against UN's probe on Operation Cast Lead

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Jerusalem, July 27 (ANI): As the findings of the UN Human Rights Council mission investigating the alleged Israeli war crimes during Operation Cast Lead are about to be released, Israel has set up an inter-ministerial committee to deal with the findings in detail.

As the report is expected to be extremely critical, there have already been meetings involving officials from the Prime Minister's Office, the Defense Ministry, the Foreign Ministry and the IDF about how to deal with it, the Jerusalem Post reports.

According to sources, the Israeli government is planning to create a team that will read the report with a "fine-tooth comb" in order to respond to its charges.

One measure the government has already adopted is to talk to foreign governments that are funding extremely critical Israeli NGOs.

Earlier this month, an NGO called Breaking the Silence presented a report that included testimonies from 26 unnamed soldiers who had participated in Operation Cast Lead.

It claimed that the IDF had used Gazans as human shields, improperly fired incendiary white phosphorous shells over civilian areas and used overwhelming firepower that had caused needless deaths and destruction.

The IDF dismissed the report as an attempt to slander the army, not initiate a thorough investigation.

The Israeli Government alleged that the Dutch and British Embassy in Israel funded to the organization to put together the report.

"Imagine what an uproar there would be were Israel to fund an organization in Britain calling either for a withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan, or to deploy more forces there," one government source said.

Meanwhile, Breaking the Silence issued a statement on Sunday.

"Attempts to silence voices in Israeli society is dangerous," the group said. "It appears that the Foreign Ministry is getting ideas from the darkest regimes, where anyone who points to failures is considered a traitor." (ANI)

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