Middle East

U.N. Council: War Crimes in Gaza

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted Friday to endorse the Goldstone Report, which says that Israelis and Palestinians committed war crimes during the Gaza offensive last winter. The 575-page investigation concluded that Palestinian armed groups intentionally spread terror through years of rocket attacks on southern Israel, and that Israel used disproportionate force and targeted civilians. (Almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict.) Although Hamas and the Palestinian government endorsed the report, American and Israeli representatives called it "one-sided" and "flawed," citing Israel's right to defend itself. The HRC's endorsement of the report sets up a potential international prosecution at the International Criminal Court, though the U.S. is likely to use its veto power to block it. Representatives from the two countries said that the resolution could interfere with the Middle East peace process. "We're focused on moving forward in the peace process and we feel that this is a distraction from that," an American diplomat said.