Rights council in Geneva endorses resolution critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza.
Netanyahu convened the forum shortly after the UN human rights council (UNHRC)endorsed a report by Richard Goldstone, a South African judge, on Friday.
Goldstone’s report accused both Israel and Hamas, which has de facto control of Gaza, of war crime violations during the conflict last December and January, reserving most of its criticism for Israel.
Twenty-five countries voted in favour of the UNHRC resolution, while six opposed it, 11 abstained and five declined to vote.
The council’s resolution endorsed Goldstone’s recommendation that the war crimes issue be referred to the UN Security Council if the sides failed to conduct credible domestic investigations within six months, and possibly then to the International Criminal Court.
But the resolution did not mention Hamas, which Goldstone also criticised for its actions during the Gaza war.
Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, said Israel “totally and completely” rejected the UN council’s vote, adding that he thought Israel would not ultimately suffer any significant consequences.
In addition to endorsing the report, the human rights council resolution “strongly condemns all policies and measures taken by Israel, the occupying power, including those limiting access of Palestinians to their properties and holy sites”.
It also calls on Israel to stop digging and excavation work around the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem as well as other Islamic and Christian religious sites.
Israel rejected the charges in the resolution, which was drafted by the Palestinians with Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tunisia, on behalf of non-aligned, African, Islamic and Arab nations.
|FROM THE BLOGS|
A statement from the Israeli foreign ministry said: “The adoption of this resolution by the UNHRC impairs both the effort to protect human rights in accordance with international law and the effort to promote peace in Middle East”.
Netanyahu has said before that the Goldstone report could undermine US-sponsored moves towards peace in the Middle East.
The Palestinian Authority, supposedly under US-pressure, had initially agreed to defer a vote on the UN-sanctioned report, but later backtracked under domestic criticism.
About 1,400 Palestinians – the majority of them civilians – and 13 Israelis were killed during Israel’s three-week war on Gaza, which had the stated aim of stopping rocket attacks by Palestinian fighters from the coastal territory.