UN debates resolution over Gaza war crimes investigations
The U.N. General Assembly debated a resolution that would call on Palestine and Israel to investigate charges of war crimes during the Israeli war in Gaza.
The U.N. General Assembly debated on Wednesday a resolution that would call on Palestine and Israel to investigate charges of war crimes during the Israeli war in Gaza detailed in a report in which harshly criticised Israel.
The nonbinding resolution on the so-called Goldstone report, which looked certain to be approved by the 192-nation assembly, also requests U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send the 575-page report to the Security Council.
The report, commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council and published on Sept. 15, lambasted both sides in the December-January conflict, which killed more than 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, but was harsher toward Israel.
In the assembly debate, many envoys praised the report by South African jurist Richard Goldstone and demanded an end to the Jewish state's "impunity". But Israel damned the document as "conceived in hate and executed in sin."
There is no veto in the assembly and the resolution looked sure to win a majority. But with more than 40 envoys listed to speak, it was unclear whether the vote would take place on Wednesday.
Israel's ally the United States was one of a small number of countries expected to vote against the resolution. In a clear warning to the administration, the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Barack Obama to oppose U.N. endorsement of Goldstone's findings.
The diplomats said the EU opposed the resolution's implicit endorsement of the Goldstone report, which Western states have called flawed, although making important points.
"No military targets"
Representing the EU, Ambassador Anders Liden of Sweden, the bloc's current president, called the report serious and urged Israel and the Palestinians to launch "appropriate, credible and independent investigations" into its charges.
But Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev gave no hint that her country, which refused to cooperate with Goldstone, would respond.
Palestinian representative Riyad Mansour rejected Israel's principal argument that the report ignored the Jewish state's right to defend itself.
Of 36 incidents in Gaza investigated by Goldstone, "with only one exception, the facts prove that there were no military targets that could justify such attacks by the Israeli occupying forces," Mansour said.
He also reaffirmed that the Palestinian Authority was ready to investigate Goldstone's charges against the Palestinians.
The resolution follows Goldstone in calling on Israel and Palestinian to undertake within three months credible investigations into the report's charges.
It also asks Ban to transmit the report to the Security Council. But diplomats said all five veto-wielding permanent council members opposed council involvement, so it was unlikely the 15-nation body would take action.
Reuters Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Kasım 2009, 11:10