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Israel has most to gain by assisting U.N. team

Posted: Monday, May 06, 2002

The Israeli government blundered by attempting to delay arrival of the United Nations team to investigate what happened during Israel's attack on the Jenin refugee camp.

Israeli officials complained that Israel was not consulted in the team's selection. And they protested that Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary general, exceeded his authority when he said the United Nations would reach ''findings and conclusions'' rather than merely compile facts. ...

The protests served only to give the impression that Israel has something to hide. At first, Israel opposed Arab calls for an investigation, but then it reversed course. ...

But Israeli officials then expressed unhappiness with the team Annan chose for the task. It had too much of a humanitarian bent and might set Israel up to defend itself against war crimes, according to Israeli officials. ...

Annan rightly refused to change the membership of the team. ...

Israel is the party with the most to gain from a full and fair investigation of the events at Jenin. It contends its military had no choice but to proceed in the manner it did against the residents of the camp, and that may well be true. But the confused events need to be publicly sorted out. So Israel, for its own sake, must give its full cooperation to the U.N. team.

-- Seattle Post-Intelligencer

April 26

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