U.N. assembly urges further Gaza war investigations

U.N. assembly urges further Gaza war investigations


The United Nations’ 192-nation assembly of member states approved the nonbinding Arab-drafted resolution with 98 votes in favor, seven against and 31 abstentions. Some 56 nations did not participate in the vote
Riyad Mansour the Palestinian Authority’s permanent observer to the United Nations, blamed a massive snowstorm that closed down schools and many businesses in New York for the poor attendance at the time of the vote
The decree calls for investigations that are “independent, credible and in consistency with international standards” into charges raised in a U.N. report last September by a board headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone
The Goldstone report said the Israeli army and Palestinian militants committed war crimes during the conflict from late December 2008 to mid-January 2009, but focused more on Israel
Unlike an earlier resolution the assembly adopted in November 2009, Friday’s resolution set no time limit for the completion of the investigations

More than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died after Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in Gaza to try to end Hamas rocket fire against its cities. Critics charged that Israel used excessive and indiscriminate firepower but Israel blamed the militants for hiding among civilians

The United States and a few other countries like Micronesia and Nauru joined Israel in voting against Friday’s resolution.

The assembly’s November vote on the Goldstone Report divided the 27 European Union members into those that joined Israel and voted no, those that backed the Arabs and voted yes, and nations that abstained. No EU member voted against Friday’s resolution, though some voted yes and some abstained

Israel, the United States and other Western powers have called the Goldstone report biased and faulty
The Israeli army has been performing its own investigation of the allegations and the Palestinian Authority, which has no influence over the Gaza Strip, has promised to do so as well

But Ban cast doubt on both sides’ investigations in a letter he sent to the General Assembly earlier this month, withholding judgment on whether their probes were credible
Israel’s U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, reiterated her country’s position that its investigations into the behavior of its soldiers during the conflict in Gaza were credible