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Amal Alamuddin rejects role on UN inquiry panel on Gaza

Hamas welcomes the announcement that the UNHRC will investigate Israeli violations in Gaza
Amal Alamuddin's agent issued a statement saying her busy work schedule prevents her from taking place on panel investigating Gaza violations (AFP)

Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Monday welcomed a decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to form a committee to investigate alleged Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip.

"We welcome the council's decision to form an international inquiry panel into the war crimes in Gaza," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a press release.

The rights council said Monday that its president Baudelaire Ndong Ella has ordered the formation of an international independent committee to investigate international and human rights law violations that might have been committed by Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The new panel will be headed by William Schabas, a Canadian international law professor, and Doudou Diene, a Senegalese national and former United Nations special rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism.

George Clooney's fiance Amal Alamuddin was reported to be taking a position on the panel. However, within hours of the announcement, her agent issued a statement on her behalf in which she said, “I am horrified by the situation in the occupied Gaza Strip, particularly the civilian casualties that have been caused, and strongly believe that there should be an independent investigation and accountability for crimes that have been committed,” she said.

“I was contacted by the UN about this for the first time this morning. I am honoured to have received the offer, but given existing commitments - including eight ongoing cases - unfortunately I could not accept this role. I wish my colleagues who will serve on the commission courage and strength in their endeavours.”

At least 1943 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 10,000 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since 7July.

According to Israeli figures, at least 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in battles with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip, while three civilians were killed by Palestinian rocket attacks.

Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian factions are currently observing a three-day ceasefire that started on Monday to coincide with indirect talks in Cairo aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire.