Ben-Eliezer, Peres to Annan: Israel unhappy with Jenin delegation
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed a three-member fact-finding team led by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari to determine what happened during Israel's military assault on the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.
The other two members are Cornelio Sommaruga, former president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Sadako Ogata, the former UN high commissioner for refugees who is Japan's special envoy on Afghan reconstruction.
Ahtisaari said he hopes the team will arrive in the West Bank later this week.
Israel disappointed by mission make-upOfficial sources in Jerusalem said that Israel was surprised that the composition of the team was not discussed with them in advance.
"We expected that the operational aspects of the fact-finding mission would be carried out by military experts."
The sources added, "Israel has nothing to hide. The mission will provide an opportunity to display Palestinian terror in all its cruelty. We hope that this will not be another of the UN's committees, and that this one will be an honest fact-finding mission."
Both Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres spoke to Annan Monday. Ben-Eliezer expressed his disappointment at the make-up of the team, and expressed his hope that the mission would not overstep its mandate.
Peres asked Annan to deny reports that the mission would look into events outside the refugee camp, and that the finding would have legal validity. Annan said that mission would only investigate what happened inside Jenin, but may have to interview residents currently outside the camp. He added that the findings would not be legally binding.