Goldstone report is 'emotive issue': Britain and France
The leaders of Britain and France wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday acknowledging that a UN report on the Gaza war was "an emotive issue" and urging a moderate response from all sides.London - The leaders of Britain and France wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Friday acknowledging that a UN report on the Gaza war was "an emotive issue" and urging a moderate response from all sides.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded after the UN Human Rights Council adopted the Goldstone report, which accuses Israel and Hamas of war crimes in the devastating 22-day Gaza conflict launched last December.
Israel has sharply criticised to the move, saying it "impairs both the effort to protect human rights in accordance with international law and the effort to promote peace in the Middle East."
In their letter, extracts of which were released by Downing Street, Brown and Sarkozy said: "We recognise that the Goldstone report is an emotive issue for Israel and the Palestinians.
"We want international discussion of the Goldstone report to be managed in a way that supports an improvement of the situation on the ground, including the security of Israel and the Palestinians, and the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
"We recognise Israel's right to self defence and are convinced that peace is the best guarantee for Israel’s and Israelis' security."
Brown and Sarkozy also called on Netanyahu to give humanitarian convoys access to Gaza, proceed with an independent probe into the conflict and share the findings, halt settlement activity in the Occupied Territories and resume negotiations along the lines laid out by the US.
The Goldstone report found that both Israel and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the conflict.
It recommends the referral of its conclusions to the International Criminal Court prosecutor in The Hague if Israel and Hamas fail to conduct credible investigations within six months.
The report's author, Richard Goldstone, himself criticised the resolution, saying that unlike his report which it endorsed, the wording slammed only Israel and spared Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip.