UNHRC to Vote on Goldstone

The Goldstone Report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza appears set to win approval of the United Nations Human Rights Council Friday.

Hana Levi Julian, | updated: 10:57

S. African Judge Richard Goldstone
S. African Judge Richard Goldstone
Israel news photo: (file)

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Friday is set to vote its approval of the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza last winter, and possible crimes against humanity. It may also vote to back a draft resolution condemning the Jewish State.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told reporters Thursday in Jerusalem that Friday's vote would either "help terrorism or harm terrorism -- it can either promote peace, or harm peace." He added that he hoped "responsible countries" would prevent the report from advancing further, and slammed the resolution which he said "encourages terrorism and harms peace."

It is not clear whether the European Union will vote for or against the resolution to endorse the document, although the United Kingdom said on Thursday that it would neither approve the report nor a draft resolution to condemn Israel.

"We cannot fully endorse the report, and cannot vote for the resolution as tabled," UK Ambassador to the U.N. Peter Gooderham informed the UNHRC. The United States was expected to vote against the resolution, which is based on the Goldstone Report.

The report itself was authored by a fact-finding committee led by retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone, following its investigation of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which lasted from December 27, 2008 to January 20, 2009.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay has already endorsed the report, and condemned both Israel and Hamas for their actions in Gaza as "serious vilations of international human rights and humanitarian law."

Included in the report is a comment that the Hamas terrorists who control Gaza "may have" committed war crimes as well. It also contains a recommendation that the U.N. Security Council forward the document to the International Criminal Court at the Hague for use as evidence in a trial against the State of Israel and various Israeli officials on charges of committing war crimes in Gaza. The draft resolution does not mention Hamas.

In the past, the United States usually has vetoed actions in the U.N. Security Council that would have been harmful to the Jewish State, and it is expected the U.S. would veto this move as well.

The counterterrorism incursion was launched against the Hamas terrorist organization that controls Gaza to silence the thousands of rocket and mortar attacks fired from the region at Israeli civilians living in the western Negev.

The resolution calls on the UNHRC to endorse the Goldstone Report, and condemns alleged Israeli human rights violations in eastern Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The draft, which was submitted by the Palestinian Authority, was shepherded through the Council by Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan and Nigeria.

The report goes to the United Nations in New York upon its approval by the UNHRC, where it is then reviewed by The U.N. Security Council and the U.N. General Assembly, both very powerful entities within the international body.

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