Barbs fly at UN Security Council over Gaza report
Israeli-Palestinian animosity on display over war-crime findings of Gaza report. Human Rights Council is next stop.
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The report now returns to the Human Rights Council, for two days of debate Thursday and Friday on a Palestinian-sponsored resolution focused on Israel's alleged violations of Palestinian rights. The resolution, cosponsored by Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Tunisia, addresses not just the Gaza offensive but more recent events in East Jerusalem, where tensions have risen over Israeli restrictions on worship at Muslim holy sites.Skip to next paragraph
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Israel has long accused the Human Rights Council, dominated by nonaligned and Muslim countries, of singling it out for condemnation while disregarding more flagrant rights violators. But Israel is also more sensitive regarding the Goldstone report, in part because its author, Richard Goldstone, is a respected South African jurist and a Jew who in the past has rallied to Israel's defense.
In the Security Council debate, the deputy US ambassador to the UN, Alejandro Wolff, said the US "takes the allegations in the report seriously" but continues to believe it is a matter that belongs in the Human Rights Council. He also expressed doubts about the report's fairness, citing "its unbalanced focus on Israel."
Ambassador Wolff said Israel, unlike Hamas, has "the institutions and the ability" to carry out an investigation of the allegations, "and we encourage it to do so."
Arab countries counter that Israel regularly rejects any rights allegations from the Human Rights Council and other UN bodies, such as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, dismissing those organizations as biased against it.
But the Palestinians and some Arab countries cite the Goldstone report as "objective" evidence that Israel deserves the Human Rights Council's attention because of its record of violations and what Goldstone calls its disproportionate use of force. Citing the Gaza offensive, Palestinians note that more than 1,400 Palestinians died in a 22-day conflict that leveled scores of Palestinian residential buildings and schools, while the Israeli death toll was 13.
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