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Photo: Reuters
Shalev: Israel committed to int'l law
Photo: Reuters
UN passes Goldstone report resolution
General Assembly approves proposal by Arab League calling on Ban Ki-moon to report on probes of Operation Cast Lead in five months; but Israel's ambassador asks, 'Who will investigate on Palestinian side?'

WASHINGTON – The UN General Assembly approved Friday an Arab League proposal by which Secretary-Genral Ban Ki-moon will report on progress made by both Israel and the Palestinians in independent investigations of Operation Cast Lead, following the Goldstone report on the conflict.

 

The resolution was passed by a vast majority, with 98 countries in favor, 31 abstaining, and seven opposed. It asks Ban to file his progress report in five months.

 

The Foreign Ministry published a statement following the resolution's approval, saying that "it is well-known that Israel has published two extensive reports on its investigations since Operation Cast Lead".

 

"As a democratic state, Israel will continue to hold and exhaust investigation procedures, and to relate our findings to our allies and the UN secretary-general. Israel will continue to exact its right to defend its citizens, while maintaining a strict moral code," the statement said.

 

The resolution is aimed mainly at keeping the Goldstone Report, which accuses Israel of war crimes, on the agenda. Three of the five permanent members of the Security Council – the US, Britain, and France – are opposed to its being brought before the council.

 

The first resolution on the issue made by the Security Council, which passed on November 5, asked Ban to report on the investigations being conducted by Israel and the Palestinians. His response was that Israel's probe was ongoing and that the Palestinian Authority had launched one of its own.

 

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, said Israel would never abandon its responsibility to defend its citizens, its existence, its democracy, and its freedom. She said the state would fight any terror group threatening it, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

 

She added that Israel always conducted independent and reliable probes after any military operation, and that the probes were suited to international standards.

 

Shalev also demanded to know who would be conducting the investigation on the Palestinian side. She expressed doubt that the Palestinian Authority would be able to conduct a probe in Gaza after its deliberate expulsion by Hamas, and added that as a terror organization, Hamas could not be expected to
conduct a reliable investigation of its own use of human shields, civilian targets, schools, hospitals, and mosques for terror purposes.

 

The ambassador concluded by saying that Israel was committed to international law as part of its own values as a democratic state, and that it desired the renewal of the peace process without preconditions.

 

Roni Sofer contributed to this report

 

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