Ban: Can't Tell if Probes 'Credible'

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JERUSALEM, Israel - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said he could not fully determine if investigations by Israel or the Palestinians into last year's military confrontation in the Gaza Strip are credible.

In the preface to his 72-page report, composed principally of Israeli and Palestinian responses, Ban wrote that he could not say if Israel or the Palestinians had met the General Assembly's demand for credible, independent investigations into their own actions.

"No determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned," he said.

Ban said he hoped the U.N. resolution will foster "independent, credible" investigations that conform to "international standards."

While Israel has investigated 150 separate incidences to date, the Palestinians waited until the end of January to create a commission for its investigations.

Last Friday, Israel issued a 46-page report detailing the steps it has taken.

"We think the report we submitted stands on its own. It is a comprehensive, independent report that meets international standards for transparency," one Israeli official said.

The Israel Defense Forces is working on a comprehensive response to the Goldstone Report commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Watch, which accused the IDF of war crimes during the three-week military incursion in Gaza.

Israel rejected the report's findings.

"The report effectively ignores Israel's right to self defense, makes unsubstantiated claims about its intent, and challenges Israel's democratic values and rule a law," the Foreign Ministry stated following its release.

The IDF initiated Operation Cast Lead to end Palestinian rocket attacks on southern Israeli communities.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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