Human Rights Council to reopen Goldstone report debate


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.N. Human Rights Council will reopen the debate on the Goldstone report in a special session.

The debate in Geneva is set for Thursday, the day after the U.N. Security Council in New York is scheduled to discuss the report.

Eighteen of 47 Human Rights Council member states approved a motion to hold the special session, the sixth time the council has singled out Israel in a special session in its three-year existence, the Associated Press reported.

The debate is expected to last into Friday and include discussion of the recent violence in Jerusalem.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his support for reopening the debate on the report in a weekend telephone call to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the French news agency AFP reported Tuesday, quoting Ban’s spokeswoman.

The United Nations report accuses Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during last winter’s Gaza military offensive, called Operation Cast Lead by Israel.

A vote on the report in the Human Rights Council was postponed until March at the request of the Palestinian representative. Abbas has said he authorized the postponement in order to gain support for a vote to send the report on to the Security Council for action, which could include charges filed with the International Court of Justice.

On Tuesday, during a tour of the West Bank city of Jenin, Abbas called on the Arab nations sitting on the Human Rights Council to support a reopening of the debate on the report.

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