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Rice: Israel should look into abuse claims

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WASHINGTON (JTA) — The United States expects Israel to investigate claims of abuse during the Gaza Strip war, its new U.N. envoy said.

Susan Rice, last week confirmed as the Obama administration’s envoy to the United Nations, expressed "deep concern" in her maiden speech Thursday to the U.N. Security Council "about the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent weeks and the tragic suffering of Palestinian civilians, who require urgent humanitarian and reconstruction assistance." She also accused Hamas of violating international law and said that some people were intentionally attempting to stir up anti-Israel sentiments.

"Violations of international humanitarian law have been perpetrated by Hamas through its rocket attacks against Israeli civilians in southern Israel and the use of civilian facilities to provide protection for its terrorist attacks," Rice said. "There have also been numerous allegations made against Israel some of which are deliberately designed to inflame.

"We expect Israel will meet its international obligations to investigate and we also call upon all members of the international community to refrain from politicizing these important issues."

During her confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, Rice criticized the U.N. for what she described as the world body’s one-sided criticisms of Israel.

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