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UNGA begins debate on Goldstone report

Nov. 4, 2009 10:01 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 6, 2009 9:35 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Delegates to the UN General Assembly began discussing the draft proposal that seeks to push forward investigations into war crimes alleged by the UN-mandated Goldstone report on Wednesday.

The draft resolution, submitted by several Arab states, asks that the report be handed up to the UN Security Council for discussion and also be placed under the supervision of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, who would oversee the progress on independent investigations into allegations by both Israel and the Gaza government.

Egypt's ambassador Maged Abed Al-Aziz, in his address to the assembly, said all parties "must seriously and collectively confront the realities highlighted in the Goldstone report and act accordingly and responsibly in accordance with all obligations under the [Human Rights] Charter and international law, including international humanitarian and human rights laws," Al-Jazeera reported.

Israel, as expected, condemned the resolution and the report outright. The country's representative to the UN Gabriela Shalev, called the resolution "yet another campaign against the victims of terrorism, the people of Israel."

"The Goldstone report and this debate do not promote peace. They damage any effort to revitalize negotiations in our region. They deny Israel's right of self-defense," she told the assembly.

The debate comes one day after the US House of Representatives passed a non-binding resolution condemning the Goldstone report as biased and illegal. The resolution was passed even though the report's author, South African Justice Richard Goldstone, wrote an open letter to its sponsoring representatives, saying the text of the resolution was replete with errors. Goldstone identified 15 mistakes or inaccuracies in the resolution's text, which he hinted indicated that the members had not in fact read the report they were about to condemn.
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