UN Action on Gaza Report Deferred until Next Year

The UN Human Rights Council has deferred its response to a controversial report that blamed Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes, and possible crimes against humanity, during the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

Israel and its allies had strongly opposed the report.

The council failed to agree on a draft resolution endorsing the report and agreed to take up the matter at the next council meeting slated for March 2010.

On Thursday Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the report’s endorsement would deal “a fatal blow” to peace.

Accusing the Israeli army and Palestinian militants of deliberately terrorizing and killing civilians, the 574-page report urged the UN Security Council to refer allegations to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if either side failed to investigate and prosecute suspects.

Palestinians and human rights groups say over 1,400 people were killed in the violence between 27 December 2008 and 16 January 2009, more than half of them civilians.

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