Britain will abstain from Goldstone UN vote

By Jessica Elgot, October 16, 2009

Britain will abstain from a crucial United Nations vote today over whether to endorse the Goldstone Report, despite urgent calls from Israel for Gordon Brown to reject it.

The UN Human Rights Council will vote in Geneva on whether to accept the report, which was strongly critical of Israel’s conduct during the Gaza offensive in January this year.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly held a heated phone conversation with Mr Brown yesterday where he claimed that if the resolution against Israel was to pass; it could completely derail the peace process.

In turn, Mr Brown is said to have urged Mr Netanyahu to hold his own inquiry into Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s operation in Gaza.

Earlier this week Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak phoned David Miliband and the foreign ministers of France, Spain and Norway to press them into rejecting the report.

It is thought that although most EU countries will abstain, and that the US will vote against accepting the report, the resolution is still likely to pass.

The Goldstone Report accuses Israel of targeting civilians during the operation in Gaza in which over 1,000 Palestinians died. The report also accuses Hamas of war crimes due to its rocket attacks on Israel.

Last updated: 12:37pm, November 3 2009