Netanyahu vows to fight UN report

Israeli PM promises "lengthy fight" following endorsement of Goldstone recommendations.

    Israel says that the Goldstone report will endanger prospects for peace with the Palestinians [AFP]

    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.

    Resolution adopted

    Twenty-five countries voted in favour of the UNHRC resolution, while six opposed it, 11 abstained and five declined to vote.

    In depth

     Video: Anger at Abbas
     Video: Interview with Richard Goldstone
     Timeline: Gaza War
     Analysis: War crimes in Gaza?
     Goldstone's full report to the UN rights council
     Key points of the Goldstone report
     UN inquiry finds Gaza war crimes
     'Half of Gaza war dead civilians'
     PLO: History of a Revolution
     'Israel has to be accountable'
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    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.

    Criticism rejected

    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.

    Reaction out of Gaza to yet another UN resolution
    By Ayman Mohyeldin in The Middle East blog

    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.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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