UN’s Human Rights Council Endorses Gaza War Report & Condemns Israel

3184935690_537568a2e0_bToday the United Nations Human Rights Council strongly condemned a host of Israeli measures in the occupied Palestinian territory and called on both sides to implement the recommendations of a UN commission that found that Israel and Hamas committed serious war crimes in the 3 weeks Gaza war 9 months ago.

The commission, led by Justice Goldstone, recommended that the Security Council require Israel and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza to launch appropriate independent probes into the alleged war crimes, monitor their compliance and refer the matter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the probes did not take place.

The resolution was adopted today by 25 votes in favour, 6 against (including the United States), and 11 abstentions. The council recommended that the UN General Assembly consider the Goldstone report during its current session, and condemned Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the commission.

The Goldstone report concluded that, while the Israeli government portrayed its operations as a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its rights to self defense, the Israeli plan had been directed, at least in part, at the people of Gaza as a whole in what amounted to be a collective punishment. The report highlighted the treatment of many civilians detained or killed while trying to surrender as one  manifestation of the way in which the rules of engagement, the standard operating procedures, and the instructions to the troops were framed to create an environment in which due regard for civilian lives and human dignity was replaced with a disregard for basic international humanitarian law. The destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses had been the result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces, and not because those objects had presented a military threat.

Beside the war in Gaza, the resolution also condemned recent Israeli violations of human rights in occupied East-Jerusalem, particularly the confiscation of land and properties, the demolition of houses, and the construction and expansion of settlements.

Justice Goldstone expressed some reservation about the draft of the resolution based on his report. Goldstone criticized the UN council resolution for targeting only Israel, and failing to include Hamas.

“This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope that the council can modify the text,” said Justice Goldstone after today’s vote.

To find out more details about Justice Goldstone’s report, click here.


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