After two days of debate, the United Nations General Assembly voted last night to endorse the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, the much-contested inquiry commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council that accuses both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes during last winter’s fighting in Gaza. The resolution, which urges the Security Council to consider referring the allegations to the International Criminal Court if neither side conducts independent investigations, passed 114-18, with 44 nations abstaining and 16 not voting at all.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinians envoy to the United Nations congratulated the supporting nations for “fighting against impunity and seeking accountability,” while the Israelis, having initially rejected the result as “deeply flawed, one-sided, and prejudiced,” changed their minds overnight and are now calling the whole affair a victory of sorts. “We are neither surprised nor disappointed with the vote,” Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said today in Jerusalem. The nays, mainly from Western democracies—including the United States, following a Congressional resolution urging the Obama Administration to contest the report—actually constitute a “moral majority” for Israel that proves the country “is succeeding in getting across the message that the report is one-sided and not serious,” Lieberman argued. And now what will happen? Well, probably nothing: the United States is unlikely to let the matter go before the Security Council, and neither Israel nor Hamas are likely, at this point, to respond with any degree of seriousness to the report itself. So, in other words, everyone can say they won, and maybe now we can all talk about something else for a change.