Arab States to Probe Gaza War Crimes Allegations

Arab League spokesman: Mission heading to Gaza will prepare report, take necessary legal procedures.

An Arab League official said Saturday that a league mission was heading to Gaza to investigate allegations that Israel committed war crimes during its recent offensive against Hamas.

League spokesman Hisham Youssef said the mission would prepare a detailed report for league head Amr Moussa and take the necessary legal procedures.

Critics have accused Israel of using disproportionate force and failing to protect civilians during its three-week offensive, which ended Jan. 18.

Israel launched the war in an effort to halt rocket attacks from Gaza on southern Israel.

Youssef said another league mission leaving for Gaza on Saturday would be accompanied by a second committee that would assess the aid needed to rebuild Gaza.

Last week, Col. Liron Liebman, who heads the military prosecution's international law department, said that war crimes charges brought abroad against Israeli soldiers and officers involved in Operation Cast Lead are nothing but "legal terrorism."

There is little chance that war crimes charges abroad will end in conviction, or, for that matter, in acquittal, since procedural issues will end up derailing the allegations before they reach that stage, Liebman told Haaretz. But that doesn't much matter to those bringing the charges, he said.