Israeli envoy raps U.N. for focus on Goldstone report


(JTA) — Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations criticized the focus of a Security Council session centering on a discussion of the Goldstone report.

Gabriela Shalev, in an address Wednesday to a meeting of the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East, called the report "a prize for terrorist organizations."

At the start of the meeting, Shalev said, "Instead of discussing the real and worrying questions facing the Middle East, the U.N. is focusing on the Goldstone report, which Israel believes legitimizes terror organizations."

The report on Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last winter, which has stirred a furor following its release last month, accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki rejected U.N. claims that progress has been made in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

"The Goldstone report is another wake-up call to the international community that must not be ignored," he said, calling the report "another damning record of the Israeli crimes committed against our people."

"(T)he recommendations represent a significant contribution towards the pursuit of accountability and justice," he said.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy for political affairs, Lynn Pascoe, opened the meeting by telling the council that Ban wants "all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations into the conduct of the conflict without delay."

Ban "believes that international humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances," Pascoe said during the council debate.

The Security Council’s monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East was moved up a week after a Libyan request for a special session to discuss the Goldstone report was turned down. More than 40 speakers were set to address the council Thursday and Friday.

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