26 March 2010
In Geneva, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations has voted to form a committee of experts to evaluate the demand by the Goldstone Committee that Israel and Hamas launch independent investigations into their actions during the Gaza war in 2009. The UN body also voted that Israel should pay Palestinians reparations for loss and damages suffered during Operation Cast Lead. However, the 47-nation council did not call for similar payments by Palestinians to Israelis.
The proposal sponsored by Pakistan passed by a majority of 29 to 6, with 11 abstentions. The United States and five European countries on the council – Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine – voted against the resolution, while Belgium, France and the United Kingdom abstained.
“No such assessment committee has been formed by this council before,” Israel’s UN ambassador, Aharon Leshno Yaar, told the council ahead of the vote, adding: “This resolution is so biased and one-sided, so defamatory, that it crosses far over the line of being ‘only’ anti-Israeli,” he said
The retired South African judge Richard Goldstone and three other members of a special committee produced a report in 2009 which accuses both Israelis and Palestinians of having committed possible war crimes in Gaza, but the bulk of the report focused on Israel.
Leshno Yaar told the council that there was no need for a new committee of experts. It “clearly contradicts and duplicates last month’s General Assembly resolution that asked the secretary-general to report on investigations by the end of July, as the committee of experts will shoot out another report, less than two months later, in September,” the Israeli ambassador told the Human Rights Council.
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