UN Backs Debate on Goldstone’s Gaza Report

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon backs a Palestinian bid to re-launch the debate on the Goldstone report, which accuses Israel of war crimes as well as crimes against humanity during its weeks-long onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

Ban’s spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said on Monday that the UN chief pledged the acting Palestinian Authority chief, Mahmoud Abbas, his support for the matter during a Sunday telephone conversation.

A United Nations inquiry, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, detailed what investigators called Israeli actions "amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," during Israel’s winter offensive against the Hamas-ruled Gaza.

The 575-page report by Goldstone and three other investigators asserts seven incidents in which Palestinian civilians were shot while leaving their homes, trying to run for safety or waving white flags. The report says Israel targeted a mosque at prayer time, killing 15 people, and shelled a Gaza City house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to assemble. These attacks constituted war crimes, the report says.

The probe also found that Israel violated international humanitarian law in several ways. Dozens of Palestinian policemen were killed at the start of the Gaza onslaught when Israel bombed their stations. The security agents were not involved in the hostilities and should have been treated as civilians. Palestinians, in addition, were used as human shields and were forced to walk ahead of the Israeli soldiers searching civilian neighborhoods.

Israeli authorities, meanwhile, have branded the investigation as ‘not an independent or professional’ one, but a collection of claims brought forward by Hamas to the members of the UN fact-finding mission.

Thousands of Palestinians were killed during three weeks of Israel’s land, sea and air assault, during Operation Cast Lead, in the impoverished coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted USD 1.6 billion of damage upon Gaza’s economy.

(Press TV)

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