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Report's author. Judge Richard Goldstone
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Kuwait: Israel killed civilians intentionally
UN's Human Rights Council discusses report accusing Jewish state of committing war crimes in Gaza. Kuwait's delegate says IDF destroyed civilian facilities on purpose. PA rep: We fully support report, call for its implementation. Israeli Arabs' Adalah organization says 'Gaza has turned into a black hole with no legal defense'
The United Nations' Human Rights Council convened in Geneva on Friday morning to discuss a UN committee's report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.

 

Kuwait's representative to the Council said that Israelis had killed civilians intentionally and had destroyed civilian facilities on purpose.

 

He asked why no one was doing anything against Israel, which he referred to as "an occupying power, which instead of defending civilians, is destroying the Geneva Convention." He then answered his own question by saying that Israel murdered and evaded punishment.

 

Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno Yaar asked to rebuke the Kuwaiti delegate over the language he used to describe what was happening in Gaza.

 

The Kuwaiti delegate continued, "We are pessimistic." He quoted Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had said that those who believe a peace agreement could be reached are suffering from illusions. The Afghan representative slammed Israel as well.

 

The Palestinian representative said that the discussion gave the international community the opportunity to demand that Israel claim responsibility. "We believe that Israel's collective punishment is part of a policy," she said. "We express our full support for the report, and call for its implementation so that justice can be made."

 

She claimed that Israel "is responsible for the war crimes it committed in Gaza." Compromising the Palestinians' rights and giving Israel the green light will damage chances for peace in the region, she added.

 

Rights groups: It's time to act

Non-governmental bodies slammed Israel's actions as well during the discussion. A Human Rights Watch representative said that "this report gives the international community an opportunity to strengthen international law. There will be no justice and peace without claiming responsibility. The Israeli justice system has failed in providing aid to the Palestinians time and again."

 

She noted that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said that Israelis would not be prosecuted for crimes allegedly committed in Gaza in any event. "In east Jerusalem, which is separated from the West Bank by a fence, houses are being demolished systematically," she said. "Mr. President, it's time to act like Judge (Richard) Goldstone writes."

 

She called on the Council to make a decision that would strengthen international law. "We call on the sides to investigate themselves, and if they fail to do so, it is our duty to bring the matter to international justice."

 

A representative of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel also took part in the discussion. She said that since Operation Cast Lead, Israeli human rights organizations have demanded an independent investigation, but that this demand was rejected.

 

"Since 2006, Gaza has turned into a 'black hole' with no legal defense. An Israeli court has approved the closing of the crossings to Gaza," she said.

 

The representative complained that "since the second intifada Israel is not investigating its actions. The best example is the assassination of Salah Shehade – no investigation has been conducted in Israel."

 

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