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U.N. panel opens Gaza hearings

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A United Nations panel investigating alleged human rights violations during Israel’s military operation in Gaza opened public hearings.

The two days of hearings beginning Sunday at the U.N. Relief and Works Agency headquarters in Gaza City are being overseen by South African Jewish prosecutor Richard Goldstone, who heads the delegation, which arrived Friday in Gaza.

Palestinian witnesses and victims will testify, as will emergency workers, according to reports. 

The panel will hold similar hearings in Geneva next month, to which Israeli witnesses and victims are invited since the panel has been barred from Israel.

In early June the panel visited Gaza, forced to enter through Egypt since Israel refused to cooperate, claiming bias. The committee was unable to enter southern Israel to gather evidence.

The panel plans to have a final report available for the U.N. Human Rights Council by mid-September.
 

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