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UN assembly calls for probes into Gaza war crimes allegations

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-06

The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved an Arab-sponsored resolution calling on Israel and the Palestinians to probe war crimes allegedly committed in Gaza nearly a year ago.

REUTERS - The U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution on Thursday urging Israel and the Palestinians to investigate war crimes charges leveled in a controversial U.N. report on the Gaza war.

The vote on the nonbinding resolution was 114 countries in favor with 18 opposed -- including Israel and its ally the United States -- and 44 abstaining. No country has veto power in the assembly.

The Arab-drafted resolution followed up on a 575-page report on the Gaza war commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council, written by a panel led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone and published in September.

The report blasted both sides in the December-January conflict, which killed over 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, but was harsher toward Israel, which refused to cooperate with Goldstone and has reacted with outrage to his findings.

The resolution follows Goldstone in calling on Israel and "the Palestinian side" to undertake within three months credible investigations into the report's charges.

It also asks U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to transmit the report to the Security Council. But diplomats said all five veto-wielding permanent council members opposed council involvement, so it was unlikely the 15-nation body would take action.

Apart from Israel and the United States, a number of European countries including Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic voted against the resolution. But the European Union was split, with others including Britain and France abstaining. Most developing countries voted in favor.

Israel's Deputy Ambassador Daniel Carmon told the assembly the resolution "endorses and legitimizes a deeply flawed, one-sided and prejudiced report of the discredited Human Rights Council and its politicized work that bends both fact and law."

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Alejandro Wolff said the resolution was flawed in several respects, including its failure to name the Hamas militant movement that rules Gaza. He also said a demand for international supervision of any Israeli and Palestinian investigations was "unhelpful."

Date created : 2009-11-06

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