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Israel 'should face war crimes tribunal'

From correspondents in Ankara

Retrieved from the Australian on August 04, 2006

ISRAEL should appear before an international war crimes tribunal for its deadly offensive against Lebanon, the head of the Turkish parliament's human rights committee said today.

"War crimes tribunals should act to punish Israel's state terror and crimes against humanity," Mehmet Elkatmis told reporters here.

"Otherwise, it does not look like Israel will stop.

"It accepts no international agreement, nor human values - it is crazedly pursuing its attacks," he said ahead before an emergency meeting of his committee to discuss the situation in Lebanon.

Describing the Israeli offensive as "brutality", Mr Elkatmis said: "It seems to me that Israel is making innocent people pay for Hitler's genocide".

He accused world powers, the United Nations and the European Union of failing to act to stop the hostilities.

"If Israel is to blame for the violence, those who keep silent and provide indirect support (to Israel) are also to blame," Mr Elkatmis said.

Turkey, a secular, non-Arab, Muslim-majority country has been Israel's main regional ally since the two countries signed a military deal in 1996.

But ties have cooled with the Islamist-rooted Turkish government criticising the Jewish nation's policies and actions in the region.

Israeli military operations in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon have also ired Turkish MPs.

About 70 of them have resigned in protest since June from a parliamentary friendship group with their Israeli colleagues, according to parliamentary sources.