Despite heavy lobbying, EU parliament endorses Goldstone report

by Leigh Phillips
10.03.2010 @ 17:21 CET
euobserver.com

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – Despite an intensive lobbying effort on the part of European Jewish groups, the European Parliament has endorsed the Goldstone report, the UN’s official investigation into the bombardment of the Gaza Strip in January 2009, a report that accuses Israel of war crimes and calls for the prosecution of Israeli officials in the Hague.

In a 335-to-287 vote splitting the house between left and right, MEPs backed a joint resolution from the centre left, far left, Greens and Liberals calling on the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the bloc’s member states to “publicly demand the implementation of [the report’s] recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes.”

In April, 2009, a team of UN investigators headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, a former member of the South African Constitutional Court and chief prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, was established to look into violations of international human rights law during the Gaza conflict in which Israeli forces killed over 1,400 Palestinians and Hamas killed 13 Israelis.

While the report found that both sides had committed war crimes, Tel Aviv has since attempted to rubbish the document, an effort that has met with success in the US Congress, which last November passed a resolution calling the report “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.”

EU parliamentary deputies in recent days have been inundated by lobbying emails from the European Jewish Congress over the vote. A spokesperson for the group told this website that it had been “definitely a really major effort by the EJC, but it’s only a work in progress and there’s still a lot of work to do.”

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