New York, November 7, 2009 – The United Nations
General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly in favor of a report, which
accuses Israel of war crimes as well as crimes against humanity during
the weeks-long onslaught on the Gaza Strip.
114 states endorsed a resolution supporting the report by a Human Rights
Council panel led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone in
Thursday's UN vote while only 18 states including the US objected to the
report's adoption. Forty-four countries also abstained including France,
Britain and Russia.
The assembly's resolution demands that both the Israelis and the
Palestinians carry out investigations within three months. It also
pushes for Security Council attention.
The resolution was passed with wide support from Muslim states as well
as the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, of developing nations. There were,
however, concerns that the Arab states would tone down the report's
content in an effort to make it more amenable to European Union support.
Proponents of the resolution said such serious accusations of war crimes
deserved international attention.
Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour applauded the vote, saying the
implementation of Goldstone's report would begin in stages.
"In three months, we will reconvene at the General Assembly to consider
the report of the Secretary General for further action. The United
Nations Security Council will also be in attendance,” he was quoted as
saying by Voice of America.
Tel Aviv's envoy to the world body Gabriela Shalev however said the vote
was conceived in hate and executed in sin. "Politics, rather than
protecting human rights, was the only reason the report was even being
discussed in New York," she alleged.
The 575-page UN-ordered report on Israel's offensive in Gaza asserts
seven incidents in which Palestinian civilians were shot while leaving
their homes, trying to run for safety or waving white flags.
The report says Israel targeted a mosque at prayer time, killing 15
people, and shelled a Gaza City house where soldiers had forced
Palestinian civilians to assemble. These attacks constituted war crimes,
the report says.
The probe also found Israel violated international humanitarian law in
several ways. Dozens of Palestinian policemen were killed at the start
of Gaza onslaught when Israel bombed their stations. The police force
was not involved in the hostilities and, as such, should have been
treated as civilians. Palestinians, in addition, were used as human
shields forced to walk ahead of Israeli soldiers searching civilian
More than 1,500 Palestinians were killed during Israel's three week-long
land, sea and air assault, 'Operation Cast Lead ', in the impoverished
coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted $ 1.6 billion of damage to
the Gazan economy.
Source: Press TV, November 6, 2009