Israel Report to Mitchell Panel to Blame Palestinians for Violence
Israel said Wednesday it is preparing a report to the US-led commission probing the 12-week wave of bloodletting in the region that will hold the Palestinians responsible for violence and present the Jewish state as the victim.
"The paper must make the Palestinians responsibility for the outbreak of the violence unequivocally clear," said Ronni Milo, appointed by Prime Minister Ehud Barak to liaise with the committee headed by former US senator George Mitchell.
"In light of the Palestinians planned propaganda campaign, Israel must make it clear to the entire world by means of the report ... that Israel is the side under attack and that all of its actions are designed to protect itself, its citizens and its soldiers," he said in a statement.
The report is due to be submitted in 10 days to the five-member commission which was set up two months ago to look into the unrest that has so far left almost 350 people dead, most of them Palestinians.
Among the dead are 38 Israeli soldiers and civilians, including Jewish settlers.
"(The report) must describe specific instances in which members of the Palestinian establishment were directly involved in encouraging, and participating in, acts of violence," Milo added.
Israel has been accused by the United Nations and international rights groups of using excessive force against Palestinians.
The commission was agreed to at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit in Egypt in October to determine the roots of the fighting, which erupted after Israeli right-wing opposition leader Ariel Sharon visited a site in occupied east Jerusalem holy to both Muslims and Jews.
Only on Tuesday, Israeli commission representative Moshe Koshanovsky told reporters that the report would not be a "propaganda document."
Israel had initially opposed the fact-finding committee, which made a brief tour of the region earlier this month, fearing the body would be biased from the start -- JERUSALEM (AFP)
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