WASHINGTON – The UN General Assembly is scheduled to convene Friday in order to vote on an extension period of five months for Israel's internal investigation of Operation Cast Lead as well as the investigation announced by the Palestinian Authority following the Goldstone Report.
According to a resolution submitted by Western countries, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be asked to once again report on the progress of the individual probes to member states after the five month period comes to an end.
The extension period, offered by Arab members, was 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 PA had launched one of its own.
A large part of Ban's report included Israel's response to Goldstone, which explained the manner in which the military advocate general conducting the probe is independent of the IDF.
The Arab proposal for the five-month extension of the probes calls on Israel once again to "conduct an independent, reliable investigation that complies with international standards of the severe violations of international humanitarian law, as the committee for the investigation of the facts reported, in order to guarantee the assumption of responsibility and justice".
A similar demand was issued for the "Palestinian side", without explaining whether it was aimed at Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Ban is asked to report on the progress in order for the UN to "weigh additional moves, if needed, by relevant UN bodies, including the Security Council".