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UN chief to pass Gaza report to Security Council Print E-mail

Collective punishment


Ban Ki-moon to transmit Goldstone's report to UN Security Council amid US-Israeli objections.

UNITED NATIONS - UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday that he should soon transmit to the Security Council a report alleging that Israel and the Palestinians committed war crimes during the Gaza war nearly a year ago.

"As requested by the General Assembly, I will transmit the report to the Security Council," he told reporters a day after the 192-member assembly overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on both sides in the Gaza conflict to launch credible, independent probes of the alleged war crimes.

"I will do it as soon as possible," added Ban.

Earlier Friday, Israel rejected the General Assembly's non-binding resolution, which was approved Thursday by a vote of 114 in favor and 18 against, with 44 abstentions.

"Israel rejects the resolution of the UN General Assembly, which is completely detached from realities on the ground that Israel must face," its foreign ministry said in a statement.

The statement said that during the 22-day war, which ended in January and killed some 1,400 Palestinians (mainly civilians) and 13 Israelis, the Israeli military "demonstrated higher military and moral standards than each and every one of this resolution's instigators."

Israel, which had strenuously opposed the assembly resolution and the UN report that it endorsed, voted against it as did its staunchest ally, the United States, along with Australia and a few European countries.

The 575-page report by a panel led by respected former international prosecutor Richard Goldstone recommended that its findings be transferred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague if Israel and the democratically elected Hamas in Gaza fail to conduct credible investigations into the war.

From the outset, Israel rejected the Goldstone report and refused to cooperate with the UN inquiry panel.

Israel, which wants to crush any Palestinian liberation movement, responded to Hamas's win in the elections with sanctions, and almost completely blockaded the impoverished coastal strip after Hamas seized power in 2007, although a ‘lighter’ siege had already existed before.

Human rights groups, both international and Israeli, slammed Israel’s siege of Gaza, branding it “collective punishment.”

A group of international lawyers and human rights activists had also accused Israel of committing “genocide” through its crippling blockade of the Strip.

Gaza is still considered under Israeli occupation as Israel controls air, sea and land access to the Strip.

The Rafah crossing with Egypt, Gaza's sole border crossing that bypasses Israel, rarely opens as Egypt is under immense US and Israeli pressure to keep the crossing shut.

Fatah has little administrative say in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, and has no power in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, both of which are Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel in 1967.




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