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Israel urges UN chief to block Gaza report

RIA Novosti

21:12 23/10/2009 TEL AVIV, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - The Israeli foreign minister has urged the UN Secretary General to prevent both the General Assembly and the Security Council from considering a report on Israeli and Palestinian war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

A UN mission set up to investigate the December 2008-January 2009 Gaza conflict released a report in September saying that both Israeli and Palestinian forces had committed "war crimes." The mission was led by former South African judge Richard Goldstone.

"The Israeli foreign minister expressed hope in a recent conversation with the UN secretary general that the UN Human Rights Council's resolution on the Goldstone report would not be passed for consideration in the UN Security Council or the General Assembly," a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel started airstrikes on Gaza on December 27, 2008 in an attempt to stop Palestinian militants firing rockets into Israeli territory. The operation was expanded to a ground offensive, which ended on January 18, 2009. Fighting left more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.

Most of the war crimes detailed in the report were on the Israeli side, and the Israeli government has rejected the findings, severely criticizing the report as one-sided. Israel refused to cooperate with the commission, and has said it did enough in working with another UN inquiry, which only looked at the effect of the conflict on UN facilities.

A UN Human Rights Council resolution adopting the Goldstone report was passed in Geneva last Friday.

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