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UN council split on Gaza report -

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ELEANOR HALL: The Goldstone report into Israel's military offensive in Gaza is threatening to split
the United Nations human rights agency.

The 47 member Human Rights Council is debating whether to act on the UN report's findings that both
Israel and Hamas committed war crimes.

The report's author, Judge Richard Goldstone, wants the perpetrators to face court if neither side
launches its own action.

The debate in Geneva coincides with separate court action by a Palestinian group that is seeking
the arrest of Israel's Defence Minister, as Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports.

ANNE BARKER: Richard Goldstone has faced a barrage of criticism since he released his damning
report two weeks ago into the recent war in Gaza.

The 575-page report accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against
humanity.

It demands both sides hold open and credible inquiries, or face the International Criminal Court.

Despite a fortnight of furious public attacks on the former judge and his investigative team,
Richard Goldstone is standing by the findings.

RICHARD GOLDSTONE: They should be put into the hands of prosecutors, both in Israel and in Gaza. So
that's why I'd like to see the report being used in respect of accountability.

ANNE BARKER: The United Nations Human Rights Council has begun debating the report in Geneva,
before voting on whether to take the matter any further.

Richard Goldstone in his address said his team was motivated by a desire for justice against those
on both sides who've violated international law.

But Israel's ambassador to the UN, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, has told the UN body the report is
politically motivated and biased.

AHARON LESHNO-YAAR: The authors of this fact-finding report had little concern with finding facts.
The report was instigated as part of a political campaign and it represents a political assault
directed against Israel and against every state forced to confront terrorist threats.

ANNE BARKER: Hamas too has rejected the findings against it but says the Goldstone report presents
proof that Israel has committed war crimes.

The Palestinian representative in Geneva, Ibrahim Khraishi, has urged the UN to take further
action.

IBRAHIM KHRAISHI (translated): This report should not be another report to simply document and
archive history. We will recall what is happening and my population and my people will not forgive
the international community if it leaves the criminals without punishment.

ANNE BARKER: There's no guarantee though the council will refer the matter any higher, given that
many member nations failed to support the Gaza inquiry in the first place, and because further
action would require the intervention of the UN Security Council.

But with or without the report's adoption, already there have been moves to take legal action
against one side in the Gaza conflict.

Lawyers for a group of Palestinian families have lodged writs in a London court, asking for an
arrest warrant for Israel's Defence Minister Ehud Barak, who's in the country.

The papers accuse him of violating the Geneva convention and committing war crimes while directing
the Gaza offensive. It's unclear though whether the court action will even proceed.

ELEANOR HALL: Middle East correspondent Anne Barker with that report.