114 states endorsed a resolution supporting the report by a Human Rights Council panel led by the South African judge Richard Goldstone in Thursday’s UN vote while only 18 states including the US objected to the report’s adoption. Forty-four countries also abstained including France, Britain and Russia.
The assembly’s resolution demands that both the Israelis and the Palestinians carry out investigations within three months. It also pushes for Security Council attention.
The resolution was passed with wide support from Muslim states as well as the Non-Aligned Movement, NAM, of developing nations. There were, however, concerns that the Arab states would tone down the report’s content in an effort to make it more amenable to European Union support. Proponents of the resolution said such serious accusations of war crimes deserved international attention.
Palestinian UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour applauded the vote, saying the implementation of Goldstone’s report would begin in stages.
"In three months, we will reconvene at the General Assembly to consider the report of the Secretary General for further action. The United Nations Security Council will also be in attendance,” he was quoted as saying by Voice of America.
Tel Aviv’s envoy to the world body Gabriela Shalev however said the vote was conceived in hate and executed in sin. "Politics, rather than protecting human rights, was the only reason the report was even being discussed in New York," she alleged.
The 575-page UN-ordered report on Israel’s offensive in Gaza 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 Israel violated international humanitarian law in several ways. Dozens of Palestinian policemen were killed at the start of Gaza onslaught when Israel bombed their stations. The police force was not involved in the hostilities and, as such, should have been treated as civilians. Palestinians, in addition, were used as human shields forced to walk ahead of Israeli soldiers searching civilian neighborhoods.
More than 1,500 Palestinians were killed during Israel’s three week-long land, sea and air assault, ‘Operation Cast Lead ‘, in the impoverished coastal sliver. The offensive also inflicted $ 1.6 billion of damage to the Gazan economy.