Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gaza report endorsed by UN commission

From The Australian, October 17, 2009, by John Lyons, Middle East correspondent:

BARACK Obama's attempts to resume Middle East peace talks looked doomed last night after a UN committee endorsed the Goldstone report into the Gaza conflict, which accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

...The resolution passed 25-6, with developing countries mostly in favour and the US and five European countries opposing. Eleven mostly European and African countries abstained, while Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote.

US diplomat Douglas M. Griffiths told the council Washington was disappointed with the vote. The US had wanted the report to stay in Geneva, and is likely to veto any action in the Security Council.

The resolution - which also condemns recent Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem - endorses the report's recommendation that both sides in the conflict should show the Security Council within six months that they are carrying out credible investigations into the claims of abuse.

Before the vote, Israel warned that any endorsement of the report would endanger the Middle East peace process.

...Mr Netanyahu was reportedly rebuffed by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who told him Israel could avoid being criticised by the UN if it held its own independent inquiry.

...Last night's vote means the Goldstone report can now be passed to the UN General Assembly and possibly the International Criminal Court, where charges could be brought against Israeli politicians or military officials in charge of the war.

...Mr Netanyahu said once the "automatic majority" at the UN was mobilised, Israel usually lost any vote. ...
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