Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general, has said that he is to pass a
report alleging Israeli and Palestinian war crimes during the
former's offensive on the Gaza Strip to the UN Security Council.
"As requested by the General Assembly, I will transmit the report to
the Security Council," Ban said on Friday, a day after the
192-member assembly UN General Assembly voted in favour of
resolution endorsing a UN-sponsored report.
"I will do it as soon as possible," Ban, who is required by UN
procedures to comply with the assembly's request, said.
The Goldstone report, calls on both Israel and the Palestinians to
investigate within three months accusations of human-rights
violations during the 22-day conflict in December and January.
It accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, and was endorsed by
the assembly on Thursday by a margin of 114 to 18, after two days of
Forty-four member-nations abstained from voting.
The report, which was compiled by a panel led by Richard Goldstone,
a South African judge, had already been endorsed by the UN Human
Rights Council, which sponsored the fact-finding commission.
Most of the criticism in the Goldstone report was directed towards
Israel's conduct during the offensive, in which human rights
organisations say about 1,400 Palestinians - many of them women and
children - were killed.
Thirteen Israelis, including three civilians, were killed over the
course of the war.
The report concluded that Israel used disproportionate force in the
war, deliberately targeting Gaza civilians, using them as human
shields, and destroying civilian infrastructure.
Ali Treki, the General Assembly president, called the vote "an
important declaration against impunity. It is a call for justice and
"Without justice, there can be no progress towards peace. A human
being should be treated as a human being, regardless of his or her
religion, race or nationality," he said.
Apart from Israel and the US, a number of European countries
including Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the Czech Republic,
voted against the resolution.
The Netherlands' representative said, however, he supported elements
in the text, which sought to pursue inquiries into violations of
human rights and international law.
Britain and France were among EU member nations who abstained. Most
developing countries voted in favour of endorsing the report.
Jorge Valero, Venezuela's ambassador to the UN, endorsing the
report, said Israel should be brought to justice for crimes against
Palestinians, and those responsible for the "operation of terror".
Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser, Qatar's ambassador to the UN, said the
Goldstone report pointed to crimes committed by the Israel that
amounted to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including
murder, torture and serious physical and psychological harm to
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian UN observer called it "an important
night in the history of the General Assembly and the history of
fighting against impunity and seeking accountability".
'Disproportionate and systematic'
Earlier, speaking ahead of the final UN vote, Mansour said
the Goldstone report had concluded that the Israeli military
onslaught "was planned in all of its phases as a deliberately
disproportionate and systematic attack aimed at punishing,
humiliating and terrorising the Palestinian civilian population".
But Daniel Carmon, Israel's deputy ambassador to the UN, told the
assembly that the resolution "endorses and legitimises a deeply
flawed, one-sided and prejudiced report of the discredited Human
Rights Council and its politicised work that bends both fact and
Alejandro Wolff, the US deputy ambasssador to the UN, also accused
the resolution of being flawed, saying that it failed to name Hamas,
the Palestinian group that has de facto control of Gaza.
The non-binding resolution passed on Thursday by the General
Assembly asked Ban to pass the report to the UN Security Council.
However, diplomats have said that the five permanent members of the
15-member Security Council have signalled that they are opposed to
council involvement - meaning that it is unlikely that the 15-nation
body would take action.
The debate at the General Assembly was called for by the Arab UN
group, with the backing of the 118-member Non-Aligned Movement