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UN Human Rights Council condemns Israel’s Gaza assault

Issue No. 2174

The reality of Israel’s brutal onslaught on Gaza at the beginning of the year was laid bare at the United Nations Human Rights Council last week.

The council voted by 26 to five to adopt the Goldstone Report, the UN’s fact-finding mission into war crimes committed in the assault.

The US disgracefully voted against the resolution—just one week after Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Britain shamefully did not even vote on the issue for tactical reasons.

While the report suggested that Palestinian Hamas fighters could have committed war crimes by launching mortar attacks into Israel, most of its criticism was of Israel’s abuse of the Palestinians.

The report concluded, “The conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons.”

The report found that Israeli military planners followed a doctrine that involved “the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations”.

It recommended that both the Palestinians and Israel should launch investigations. If they do not do this within six months, it said that the UN Security Council should refer the issue to the International Criminal Court.

But while Hamas has endorsed the UN resolution, Israel has furiously rejected it for being “one-sided”.

Seventy one people are being charged with violent disorder after being arrested during the mass protests in January against Israel’s assault on Gaza.

The defendants could face up to five years in prison. This, and the numbers arrested, make the cases very significant. Support the defendants at Westminster Magistrates Court at 10am on Wednesday and Thursday of next week.

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Tue 20 Oct 2009, 19:31 BST
Issue No. 2174
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