UNHRC endorsing the Goldstone report
Following the UN Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the Goldstone Commission Report in Geneva on Friday, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem stated that Israel rejects the “one-sided decision” and calls on “all the responsible states” not to accept it.
Despite Israeli lobbying efforts against the Goldstone report, a resolution endorsing the document passed 25-6, with eleven countries abstaining. Five states, including France and the UK, declined to vote. The move is expected to send the report on to more powerful UN bodies in New York for action.
“The council’s decision undermines efforts to safeguard human rights in accordance with international law, as well as the efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “The decision encourages terror groups in the whole world and undermines world peace. The decision also ignores the fact that the IDF took unprecedented measures to avoid harming civilians, and [ignores] the terrorists’ use of civilians as human shields.”
Although the Goldstone report also accuses Hamas of war crimes, the five-page resolution adopted in Geneva explicitly mentions only Israeli violations of international law.
The ministry’s statement went on to stress that Israel would continue “to implement its right to self-defense, and will work to ensure the safety of its residents.”
Israel also thanked the states “that supported its [Israel’s] position and those who expressed, in the manner of their vote, opposition to the unjust decision, which ignores the murderous attacks carried out against Israel by Hamas and other terror organizations,” apparently referring to the 11 states that abstained during the vote, as well as the 5 states that declined to take part in the ballot.
In the statement, the Foreign Ministry stressed that Israel rejects the decision “despite the significant improvement in the current vote’s results in comparison with the original decision to establish the Goldstone Commission – 25 in favor, 6 against and 11 abstaining [in Friday’s vote], in comparison to 33 in favor, 1 against and 13 abstaining [in the previous vote].”
Ahead of the vote, Judge Richard Goldstone himself also criticized the wording of the UNHRC draft resolution, saying it was wrong to target only Israel while failing to condemn Hamas.
“This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel,” AFP quoted Goldstone as telling Swiss newspaper Le Temps on Thursday.
“There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope that the council can modify the text,” Goldstone reportedly said.
Meanwhile, MKs from both the coalition and the opposition criticized the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to endorse the report.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai called the move “an anti-Israeli resolution which joins an anti-Israeli report.”
“The council’s resolution constitutes diplomatic anarchy,” he said, adding that the IDF treated innocent civilians with “kid gloves,” during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter, during which the report alleges the Israel committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticized the decision and stated that Israel would continue to do “the right thing” in taking the necessary measures to protect its citizens from terrorism.
“Since its establishment, the UN Human Rights Council has looked at Israel in a distorted and distorting way – exactly like the [Goldstone Commission’s] report,” Livni said in a statement.
“The vote today was political and clearly cynical. Therefore, regardless of the council, Israel will continue doing the right thing – protecting its citizens in the face of terror, taking necessary military action, continuing the international battle against the [Goldstone] report and ensuring the legal protection of IDF officers,” she said.
Science Minister Daniel Herschkowitz said it was “a shame that the UN has made itself irrelevant.”
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List), however, praised the UN Human Rights Council for endorsing the Goldstone report, and said that the international community had “regained its lost honor.”
“The report’s endorsement is an important legal and moral statement. We mustn’t leave the civilian population defenseless,” Tibi said.
Source: Jerusalem Post
The following is the official press release from the UN concerning the voting of the UNHRC:
16 October 2009 – The Human Rights Council today strongly condemned a host of Israeli measures in the occupied Palestinian territory and called on both sides to implement the recommendations of a United Nations commission that found evidence that Israel and the Palestinians committed serious war crimes in the three-week Gaza war nine months ago.
The commission, led by Justice Richard Goldstone, recommended that the Security Council require Israel and the relevant Palestinian authorities to launch appropriate independent probes into the alleged crimes, monitor their compliance, and refer the matter to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court if these did not take place.
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