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US envoy snubs UN Goldstone debate

Nov. 5, 2009 10:00 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 6, 2009 12:46 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – The US envoy to the United Nations did not attend a General Assembly debate on Wednesday on a resolution calling for further investigation into allegations of war crimes in Gaza.

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice failed to attend the discussion, sending her deputy, Alejandro Wolff, as an observer instead.

The debate concerns the 575-page report of an international, independent fact-finding mission led by renowned South African judge Richard Goldstone, which addresses Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza last winter, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians dead.

The General Assembly is considering a nonbinding resolution that would ask UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to send the report to the Security Council, and also demand that Israel and Palestinian authorities conduct their own credible investigations into the war crimes charges.

The Arab-backed resolution is likely to pass the 192-nation General Assembly, but the Security Council, dominated by western powers, is unlikely to take further action on the matter.

Israel’s closest ally, the US, is almost assured to veto any Security Council resolution acting on the Goldstone report.

At Wednesday’s debate, Arab envoys spoke in favor of the resolution, while Israel’s ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, condemned the Goldstone report as "conceived in hate and executed in sin."

Reports also state that while most members of the 27-nation European Union were expected to abstain from voting, negotiations were underway to amend the text to make it more palatable to Europe.
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