Mideast Crisis

Israel Lawyers Up

The fighting on the ground in Gaza is over. Now Israel’s preparing for a wave of international litigation in the wake of its 22-day war with Hamas, appointing a team of international law experts to defend its soldiers against any war crimes charges. “Officers and soldiers sent on the mission in Gaza must know that they are safe from various tribunals and that Israel will help and defend them just as they protected us with their bodies during the military operation,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said today. While some human rights groups have accused Israel of war crimes in the deaths of hundreds of civilians in Gaza, Israel says Hamas used civilian centers and women and children as shields in the densely populated area. A spokesman for Hamas said today the group will sign a one-year truce if Israel and Egypt open their border crossings with Gaza.