JERUSALEM: Israel will rely on the support of the permanent United Nations Security Council members Britain, France and the US to block the progress of a report accusing it of committing war crimes in Gaza.The report, by a South African judge, Richard Goldstone, was formally adopted by the UN’s Human Rights Council on Friday, and passed on for deliberation to the more powerful Security Council.The Human Rights Council’s resolution threatens strong action against Israel by the Security Council and the International Criminal Court should there be no serious internal investigations of evidence of war crimes cited by the Goldstone fact-finding mission.But the Security Council is considered unlikely to take action, as the US has indicated it will use its veto over the council’s agenda to block discussion of the report.Israeli leaders reacted angrily to the Human Rights Council’s vote and the accompanying resolution condemning Israeli violations of human rights in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, and criticising Israel for failing to co-operate with the fact-finding mission.The Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in discussions at the weekend that Israel should fight the criticism and make intense diplomatic efforts to ensure support for its opposition to the report.”The countries that voted in favour of the report voted against peace and for terror. We will delegitimise the delegitimisation [of Israel],” Mr Netanyahu said. ”War crimes? Israel’s only real crime is that it does not enjoy an automatic majority in the UN.”Israeli media reported that Mr Netanyahu told colleagues: ”I was an ambassador to the UN and I know well that an automatic majority against Israel can be mustered for even the most absurd decisions, and we know well how absurd this decision is. The report accuses us of war crimes, when, in fact, the truth is the precise opposite.”Israel’s security cabinet was due to discuss the Goldstone report yesterday to approve a Government-wide plan to deal with the repercussions of the Human Rights Council’s vote.Senior Israeli political sources were reported as saying that Mr Netanyahu was not ruling out forming an internal inquiry into Israel’s conduct of the war in Gaza in December and January, as demanded by Justice Goldstone.A Foreign Ministry spokesman said: ”The council’s decision harms the efforts to respect human rights in accordance with international law, as well as attempts to promote the Middle East peace process. The decision provides encouragement for international terrorist organisations all around the world and harms world peace.”Of the 47 members of the rights council, 25 supported the measure, including China, Russia and India; six opposed it, 11 abstained and five cast no vote.On Saturday, the Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, boycotted an event held by the Chinese embassy in Tel Aviv to mark the 60th anniversary of Communist Party rule in China.On Friday, Justice Goldstone himself criticised the council’s endorsement of his report.He told the Swiss newspaper Le Temps before the vote that the wording of the resolution was unfortunate because it included censure of only Israel, and not Palestinian groups which his fact-finding mission also believed had committed war crimes.
Nanjing Night Net

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