US Senate asks UN to rescind Gaza War report

April 15, 2011

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US Senate asked the United Nations to rescind a report on the Gaza War after its lead author expressed doubt over his conclusion that Israel targeted civilians during the 2008-2009 offensive.

The Senate resolution calls on UN Human Rights Council members “to reflect the author’s repudiation of the Goldstone report’s central findings, rescind the report and reconsider further Council actions with respect to the report’s findings.”

The text was adopted by unanimous consent.

It also urges UN chief Ban Ki-moon to help “reform” the Human Rights Council “so that it no longer unfairly, disproportionately, and falsely criticizes Israel on a regular basis.”

Ban should “do all in his power to redress the damage to Israel’s reputation” caused by the report, the resolution said.

South African judge Richard Goldstone led the fact-finding team, established at the request of the United Nations. Its report was published in September 2009.

The report had accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes, setting the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which 1,400 Palestinians lost their lives. Thirteen Israelis were killed during the offensive.

Goldstone announced in recent weeks that new information about Israel’s military actions led him to believe he had erred in concluding that Israel targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict.

The US House of Representatives had condemned the report in a November 2009 vote.

Earlier Thursday, three of the authors of the report rejected calls to retract it.

They said in a statement to the Guardian newspaper in Britain that they found it “necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated.

“Aspersions cast on the findings of the report… cannot be left unchallenged,” wrote Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani, Christine Chinvin, a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, and former Irish peacekeeper Desmond Travers.



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