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UN envoy: Israel will still be occupier after pullout (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Reuters GENEVA, Switzerland 01/27/05 15:33 (GMT+2)Source: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/532868.html HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
GENEVA ? Israel´s planned pullout from the Gaza Strip will not change its status as an occupying power in the territory, according to the Geneva convention, the UN special human rights envoy for the occupied territories said in a report publicized Thursday.

South African law professor John Dugard also repeated accusations that Israel probably committed war crimes with its "wanton" destruction of Palestinian homes.

In his annual report to the UN Commission on Human Rights, Dugard said Israel´s planned withdrawal from Gaza under the disengagement plan did not mean it would cease to be subject to the Geneva pact on the treatment of civilians under military occupation.

This was because Israel would still retain ultimate power over Gaza by controlling its borders as well as access by sea and air.

"It will remain an occupying power still subject to obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention," Dugard said.

In Dugard´s report posted on the Web site of the Geneva-based forum, he said Israel had carried out "massive and wanton" destruction of property during its military incursions into Gaza during 2004.

"The demolition of houses in Rafah, Jabaliya and other parts of Gaza probably qualify as war crimes under the Geneva Convention," Dugard said.

Dugard, whom Israel has accused in the past of "lack of balance" and of distorting the situation by not taking sufficient account of the threat posed by Palestinian suicide bombers, first accused Israel of war crimes in early 2004. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/27/05)

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