(Reuters) - Palestinian human rights groups refused to meet the International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan on Saturday, accusing him of favouring Israeli accusations of rights abuses over longstanding Palestinian charges.
Khan has been visiting Israel and the occupied West Bank following a request by a group representing families of victims of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas gunmen, but he was also due to meet Palestinian officials in Ramallah.
However Palestinian activists said they would refuse to see him because of their objections to what they saw as unequal treatment of Israeli and Palestinian cases.
"As Palestinian human rights organizations, we decided not to meet him," said Ammar Al-Dwaik, director general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR).
"I think the way this visit has been handled shows tht Mr Khan is not handling his work in an independent and professional manner," he said.
Accusations of war crimes and human rights abuses have been made on both sides since Oct. 7, when Hamas gunmen overran several Israeli communities around the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,200 Israelis and seizing around 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
In response, Israel has launched weeks of air strikes against Gaza as well as an invasion by tanks and ground troops, killing more than 15,000 Gazans, according to Palestinian health authorities.
Khan was in Israel following an invitation from families of the Israeli hostages. He was scheduled to meet lawyers for the families' group as well as members of the families themselves.
On Saturday, he also met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said Abbas had urged Karim to investigate Israeli operations in Gaza as well as the occupied West Bank.