U.N., Israel butt heads over report

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Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations criticized the focus of a Security Council session on discussion of the Goldstone report.

Gabriela Shalev, in an address Oct. 14 to a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, called the report “a prize for terrorist organizations.”

At the start of the meeting in New York, Shalev said, “Instead of discussing the real and worrying questions facing the Middle East, the U.N. is focusing on the Goldstone report, which Israel believes legitimizes terror organizations.”

The meeting began with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s deputy for political affairs, Lynn Pascoe, telling the council that Ban wants “all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the conflict without delay.”

The Security Council’s monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East was moved up a week after a Libyan request for a special session to discuss the Goldstone report was turned down.

In advance of the meeting, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a series of phone conversations with world diplomats in a bid to convince them not to adopt the findings of the report.

Among others, Barak spoke with foreign ministers from France, Britain, Spain and Norway.

The Defense Ministry said Oct. 14 that in the previous night’s conversations, Barak said, “The Goldstone Report is false, twisted, biased and supports terror.”

Jerusalem has rejected the report as biased and inherently flawed. Conducted by former South African judge Richard Goldstone, the report accuses Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during last winter’s Gaza military offensive.

Meawnhile, the U.N. Human Rights Council was to reopen the debate on the Goldstone report in a special session beginning Oct. 15 in Geneva. The Human Rights Council said that 18 of its 47 member states co-sponsored the Palestinians’ request for the session.

It will be the 12th special session the Human Rights Council has held since its inception in 2006, and the sixth that it has held on Israel, according to the Associated Press.

The Security Council, which has the authority to ask the International Criminal Court in The Hague to use the document as a basis for prosecuting individual Israelis, is not expected to take any action on the matter. The Human Rights Council will likely demand action on the report, including sending it to the UN General Assembly, which in turn could send it to the International Court of Justice. — jta, jpost.com & ynetnews.com