- October 18, 2009
Goldstone report: A victory for Palestinians, free will, rights and justice
The United Nations’ Human Rights Council has formally endorsed a report that accuses Israel and the militant group Hamas of war crimes in Gaza. Although Israel has slammed the resolution as a diplomatic farce and says it will damage the Middle East peace process with the Palestinians, including Hamas, Palestinians as a whole have welcomed the resolution.
In a special UN session, 25 of the council’s 49 members voted in favor of the report by international prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accusing Israel of committing war crimes during its 22-day offensive in Gaza in January. Six countries, including the United States, voted against the report, while 16 abstained.
The resolution calls on all parties, including the UN, to ensure the implementation.
"The international community should make sure that the decision will become a precedent that will ensure the protection of the Palestinian people from any aggression," said Nabil Abu Rudaineh, aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal agreed, asserting that the decision was a victory for the Palestinian people and for "rights and justice.
"We tell all the countries in the world and the international community to try Israel and its political, security and military leadership for their crimes against our people, in domestic and international courts," Meshaal.
Israel, however, rejected the report where the resolution endorsed all Goldstone’s recommendations regarding Israel, including that the war crimes issue should be referred to the U.N. Security Council if the two sides failed to conduct credible domestic investigations within six months, and possibly then the International Criminal Court.
The passing of the Resolution is only the first step. All parties must conduct effective investigations aimed at ensuring that those accused of violating international law are investigated, tried and prosecuted in accordance with international standards. Should they fail to do so, the Security Council must refer the situation to the International Criminal Court.
This positive step and the ensuring of the promoting of international law, and human rights are essential components in the pursuit of a just and sustainable peace: since it is a well-known rule that there can be no peace without justice.
The public hearings are webcast by the United Nations and can be viewed by visiting thewebcast archive.