Saturday, October 17, 2009

U.N. Body Backs War Crimes Charges on Israel, Hamas

By Thalif Deen, Inter Press Service News

UNITED NATIONS, Oct 16 (IPS) – The 47-member Human Rights Council (HRC) approved a resolution Friday endorsing war crimes charges against Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, as spelled out in a report by a four-member international fact-finding mission headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.

As expected, the United States threw a protective arm around Israel and voted against the resolution, along with some members of the European Union (EU): Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands and Slovakia, as well as Ukraine.

“The voting was predictable,” an Asian diplomat told IPS, pointing out that while Western nations voted against the resolution or abstained, most of the developing countries voted in favour.

The vote was 25 in favour, six against, 11 abstentions and five no-shows.

The Geneva-based Council not only endorsed the recommendations of the Goldstone report but also strongly condemned Israeli policies in the occupied territories, including those limiting Palestinian access to their properties and holy sites, particularly in occupied Jerusalem.

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