Miliband rejects pleas over Goldstone UN vote

By Jessica Elgot, November 6, 2009
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Foreign Secretary David Miliband has rejected demands from the Jewish community that Britain vote ‘no’ at the UN General Assembly debate on the Goldstone Report.

In a joint statement, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies expressed their dismay over the lack of action by the British government regarding the report and demanded nothing less than a ‘no’ vote by Britain at the UN, calling the report “a sustained political attack upon Israel”.

But Britain, along with most EU countries, abstained from the vote. The UN voted overwhelmingly in favour of the report, which will now be passed to the UN Security Council.

In a letter sent to the Board and the JLC before the vote, Mr Miliband said: “I share important concerns about the failure of the Goldstone Report to recognise adequately Israel’s right to protect its citizens and pay sufficient attention to Hamas’s actions. I am also very clear that the excessive emphasis on Israel by the Human Rights Council is deeply unhelpful.”

“We take seriously all substantive allegations of breaches of International Humanitarian Law by both sides during the Gaza conflict.”

“The Goldstone Report does raise some serious issues which should be properly investigated. We have asked Israel to show the strength and rigour of its democracy by establishing full credible and impartial investigations. And we have continued to be absolutely clear in our condemnation of Hamas rocket attacks as a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”

The letter from David Miliband in full

Last updated: 12:53pm, November 6 2009