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|Israel to shield Gaza war soldiers|
Article Date: January 26, 2009
will give legal protection to soldiers who fought in the three-week
offensive in the Gaza Strip, Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister,
"The commanders and soldiers sent to Gaza need to know that they are completely safe from different tribunals and Israel will help and protect them," he said on Sunday.
said he had appointed Daniel Friedman, the justice minister, to chair an
inter-ministerial committee "to co-ordinate Israel's efforts to offer
legal defence for anyone who took part in the operation.
Israel's military censor has already banned the publication of the identity of the unit leaders who fought Hamas in the Gaza Strip for fear they may face war crimes charges.
Amnesty International has said it is "undeniable" that Israel used white
phosphorus in crowded civilian areas, contrary to international law,
charging that this amounted to a war crime.
Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians died during Operation Cast Lead, which ended last Sunday with a ceasefire.