Judge Richard Goldstone
Photo: AFP
Photo: AP
UN Security Council
Photo: AP

US House: UN report on Gaza 'war crimes' is biased

Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead condemned as biased by US House of Representatives, which urges President Obama to oppose US endorsement of its findings ahead of UN General Assembly session on report Wednesday

The US House of Representatives on Tuesday condemned as biased a UN report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes in Gaza, and urged President Obama to oppose UN endorsement of its findings.


The House acted despite a written protest to lawmakers by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who said his report on the December-January war in the Gaza Strip was misrepresented.


Opponents of the House move warned that although it was non-binding, it would hurt US credibility as a broker of Middle East peace.


But sponsors of the House resolution, approved 344-36, said it was necessary to formally denounce the document because it displayed a bias against close US ally Israel.


The report "paints a distorted picture," said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It "epitomizes the practice of singling Israel out from all other nations for condemnation."


The Goldstone Report lambasted both sides in the war, which killed up to 1,387 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, but was harsher toward Israel. It gave Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants six months to mount credible investigations or face possible prosecution in the Hague.


Both Israel and Hamas have denied committing any war crimes. Israel has criticized the report as unbalanced and says the 47-nation Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report, is biased against the Jewish state.


Ahead of General Assembly debate

The House of Representatives' decision came a day before the United Nations General Assembly is slated to debate the report. The debate was called by Ali Treki, current president of the GA, at the request of a group of Arab states with the support of 118 out of the 192 member nations.


The session is slated to open at 5 pm Israel time. At the end of the session, which is expected to carry on for some time due to the many representatives who have asked to speak, a vote on a draft resolution formulated by the Arab states will take place.


The draft calls for the body to adopt the Goldstone Report, and have it passed on to the Security Council.


Tuesday evening, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon called a conference with foreign ambassadors in Israel, in a last ditch effort to foil any anti-Israel resolutions being adopted at the General Assembly.


He explained to the ambassadors Jerusalem's position on the report, but the political echelon still believes the chances that the UN will vote in accordance with Israel's stance are not high.


Yitzhak Benhorin, Washington contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.04.09, 07:57
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