Friday, December 12, 2008

Iran holds Egypt liable for Israeli crimes

Press TV reports:

A senior Iranian official says Egyptian support for Israel makes Cairo accountable for any crime committed in the Gaza Strip.

"Egypt has closed the Rafah crossing and tightened the siege (of Gaza)," said Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, at Tehran's Friday prayers.

Tel Aviv placed the Gaza Strip under a blockade after the democratically-elected Palestinian government of Hamas took control of the coastal area in mid-June 2007.

The UN Human Rights Council declared on Tuesday that Israeli policies against the Palestinians and the blockade of the Gaza Strip as "crime(s) against humanity."

In response to the UN report, Israeli ambassador in Geneva Aharon Leshno Yaar said Tel Aviv "remains committed to reinforcing areas in which we are succeeding and bettering those areas that need improvement."

According to UN human rights rapporteur Richard Falk, however, Tel Aviv was responding to what he described as low-level criticism by "normally cautious UN officials". Falk suggested Israeli crimes to be worthy of an International Criminal Court investigation.

Despite its objection, Israel was forced to permit deliveries of humanitarian aid and gas to Gaza on Tuesday after days of full closure of all Gaza crossings.

On Friday, Ayatollah Khatami said "certain Arab leaders" should also be investigated by international courts for aiding and abetting Tel Aviv in its crimes.

"Certain Arab leaders should be tried as 'betrayers' for all Israeli crimes in the occupied lands and the Gaza Strip," the Iranian cleric continued.

Records show that since the imposition of the blockade, 260 patients have died, 75 percent of Palestinian kids are suffering from malnutrition, and 40 percent of ambulances have stopped working due to the lack of gas, Khatami added.

The Hamas movement has urged the international community to force Israel to lift the siege after the release of the UN Human Rights report.

"If the UN says that the tight siege on the Gaza Strip is a war crime, we wonder why Arab leaders do not demand the reopening of the Rafah crossing," said Barhoum.

The Rafah crossing connects Egypt to the Gaza Strip inhabited by some 1.5 million Palestinians.