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US House condemns Goldstone report

Nov. 4, 2009 9:48 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 5, 2009 9:20 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The US House of Representatives condemned as biased a UN-mandated report alleging war crimes in the Gaza Strip in a resolution on Tuesday.

The nonbinding resolution passed by an overwhelming margin of 344 to 36. Twenty-two lawmakers voted “present,” in effect abstaining from the vote.

The action came in spite of a letter of protest from the report’s author, Richard Goldstone, a preeminent South African jurist and former war crimes prosecutor for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. The letter addressed inaccuracies in the resolution's text, and called on its supporters to make sure the text was correct before it was voted on.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who visited Israel in August on a trip sponsored by a pro-Israel lobby group, said the Goldstone report "paints a distorted picture," and "epitomizes the practice of singling Israel out from all other nations for condemnation,” according to Reuters.

Goldstone’s Fact Finding mission was tasked by the UN Human Rights Council with investigating Israel’s three-week attack on Gaza last winter, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. Goldstone and an international team of experts visited Gaza in June and poured over thousands of documents in compiling the 575-page report.

In a letter he wrote to congress, Goldstone protested that the resolution condemning his report was factually incorrect in claiming that the document did not address projectile attacks emanating from Gaza, whereas a chapter of the report addresses the issue.
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