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U.N. rights panel backs report detailing possible war crimes by Hamas, Israel

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday endorsed a report that details evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli army and Hamas militants during the Gaza war last winter.

The council's vote in Geneva was, in part, an attempt to press both the Israelis and the Palestinians to conduct their own credible investigations into the war crimes accusations.

But the Human Rights Council's resolution, by endorsing several dozen recommendations within the report by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, also threatened action by the U.N. Security Council and possibly the International Criminal Court should there be no serious internal investigations.

Of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council, 25 supported the measure, six opposed it, 11 abstained and five cast no vote.

The United States and Israel had warned that moving the report forward now would jeopardize attempts to restart peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Israel said the 575-page report was already one-sided in singling out Israel for possible war crimes. However, the council's resolution proved even worse, Israel said, by failing to mention Hamas rockets that had been fired against Israeli civilians.

The United States, which was joined by five European nations in voting against the resolution, condemned it both for singling out Israel and for including a long section about the control of Jerusalem, land confiscation and settlement expansion.

U.N. rights panel backs report detailing possible war crimes by Hamas, Israel 10/17/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:18am]
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