TEL AVIV, November 5 (RIA Novosti) - Israel's prime minister said on Thursday the UN should investigate Iranian attempts at arms smuggling rather than criticize Tel Aviv over its role in the 2008/09 Gaza Strip conflict.
Tel Aviv said on Wednesday that it had seized a ship carrying hundreds of tons of munitions. It claimed the arms were an Iranian shipment to Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon.
The UN General Assembly debated a report on Wednesday on the December 2008-January 2009 armed conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Benjamin Netanyahu said the vessel was carrying missiles "to kill as many civilians as possible" in Israel.
"This is a war crime," the premier told a news conference devoted to the arms seizure. "This is a war crime orchestrated by the Iranian regime that the UN should investigate."
"The UN should have been investigating this crime, but instead it has convened to condemn Israel," he said.
A UN mission set up to investigate the conflict released a report in September saying that both Israeli and Palestinian forces had committed "war crimes." The mission was led by former South African judge Richard Goldstone.
Israel started airstrikes on Gaza in December 2008 in an attempt to stop Palestinian militants firing rockets into Israeli territory. The operation was expanded to a ground offensive, which ended on January 18, 2009. Fighting left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
Most of the war crimes detailed in the report were on the Israeli side, and the Israeli government has rejected the findings, severely criticizing the report as one-sided. Israel refused to cooperate with the commission, and has said it did enough in working with another UN inquiry, which only looked at the effect of the conflict on UN facilities.
The General Assembly is expected to pass a nonbinding resolution on the Gaza conflict on Thursday.