Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN General Assembly to Take Up Goldstone Report on Gaza War Crimes

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

UN General Assembly to Take Up Goldstone Report on Gaza War Crimes

Article excerpt

The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday takes up a UN human rights report that accuses Israel of committing war crimes in last winter's military offensive into Gaza.

Known as the Goldstone report, the investigation commissioned by the much-maligned UN Human Rights Council threatens to widen the gulf between the majority of Arab and developing countries that support the report and the mostly Western countries, including the United States, that have condemned it.

The General Assembly appears poised to pass the hot-potato Goldstone report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for further action, despite critics' warnings that keeping it on the international agenda is incendiary and may snuff out any hope of restarting Middle East peace talks.

A draft resolution by Arab foreign ministers calls on Mr. Ban to report back to the General Assembly in three months on whether Israel and Hamas, also accused of war crimes in the report, have undertaken internal investigations into their own actions during the three-week war.

The draft resolution also instructs Ban to submit the Goldstone report to the Security Council - potentially for submission to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Some permanent members of the Security Council have said it would be pointless to bring Goldstone to the Security Council, because it is all but certain that the US would veto any action targeting Israel. But some Arab countries, recently under pressure from the Obama administration to expand commercial and diplomatic contacts with Israel, say pressing ahead on the report will expose American "double standards" when it comes to Israeli violence against Palestinians.

The Goldstone report - named after the South African international jurist and former UN war-crimes judge, Richard Goldstone, who headed the investigation - alleges criminal wrongdoing on the part of both Israel and Hamas in the fighting last December and January, but it comes down harder on Israel. …

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