UN high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson has criticised Israel for blocking an investigation into alleged human rights abuses in the Jenin refugee camp.
Accepting that there is no evidence of a massacre, Mrs Robinson said there are other serious allegations of human rights violations, including the killing of civilians and the use of civilians as human shields.
Last week, UN secretary general Kofi Annan disbanded a fact-finding mission to Jenin because Israel refused to co-operate with it.
The refugee camp in Jenin was the scene of the fiercest fighting during Israel’s recent invasion and temporary reoccupation of the Palestinian West Bank.
Asked today about the failure of the UN investigation, Mrs Robinson said: “It is important that there can be impartial, objective fact-finding missions in situations of conflict where there are very different versions.
"There is a worry when the military forces of a country appear to be able to act with impunity since the fact-finding mission could not go.
"A serious, prima facie case has been made by reputable bodies, but there is no real pressure for an investigation. If there is no accountability, this will undermine the integrity of the human rights system and will reinforce a sense of double tandards.”