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UN Security Council to discuss Gaza conflict report in rescheduled meeting

[JURIST] The UN Security Council [official website] agreed Wednesday to reschedule October's meeting on the Middle East in order to discuss the final report [JURIST report] of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict [official website]. The meeting was pushed forward [BBC report] at the request of Libyan diplomats, with the support of many Arab members. US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff [official profile] said that the Council had only agreed that the meeting would be moved forward from the October 20 to the 14, and that all delegations are free "to raise whatever issue they think are pertinent." Reiterating US and Israeli criticism [JURIST report] of the report's conclusions, Wolff said that the proper venue to discuss the report was the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website], which postponed [JURIST report] further discussion of the report until March.

Last month, Richard Goldstone, head of the Gaza mission, presented his findings [JURIST report] to the UNHRC. The mission began its field operations in Gaza in June, entering Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing after Israel announced that it would not cooperate with the investigation, and concluded hearings [JURIST reports] in July. Goldstone was appointed to head the investigation [JURIST report] in April, amid strong criticism [JURIST report] from Israel. The probe followed a previous report [text, PDF; JURIST report], authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, which criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US criticized [DOS briefing] the report, calling the rapporteur's views "anything but fair." In April, an internal Israeli military investigation found that war crimes had not been committed [JURIST report] in the offensive despite individual reports by Israeli soldiers [Haaretz report]. Israel has already disputed [JURIST report] a previous report to the UNHRC that accused it of human rights violations.

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