Concern but no action regarding Israel's Gaza attacks

The United Nations Security Council expressed concern at the findings of an investigation that accused Israel of gross negligence and recklessness during the war in Gaza, but indicated it planned no action against the Jewish state.

The United Nations Security Council expressed concern at the findings of an investigation that accused Israel of gross negligence and recklessness during the war in Gaza, but indicated it planned no action against the Jewish state.

The council discussed the UN inquiry behind closed doors at the request of Libya, which had circulated a draft resolution condemning Israel’s military offensive and its use of “extremely dangerous ammunition and substances, including white phosphorous”.

The inquiry focused on nine attacks on UN schools, a health clinic and the world body’s Gaza headquarters.

The independent investigation, ordered by secretary general Ban Ki-moon, found that Israeli weapons were responsible for seven of the attacks.

It said the UN should demand compensation for property damage and for those killed and injured as well as an acknowledgement from Israel that statements it made about several attacks were untrue.

Last week Israeli president Shimon Peres called the investigation “outrageous” and said his country would not apologise for defending its citizens against Hamas missile attacks from Gaza, but admitted that the Israeli military made some mistakes.

The Libyan draft resolution called for Israel “to publicly retract and regret untrue allegations” and pay reparations. It would also authorise the UN Security Council “to consider any actions or measures” to avoid a repetition of attacks on UN premises.

But the brief press statement read after the meeting by the current council president, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin, indicated that the 15 council members were divided on how to respond to the report and planned no action.

In the statement, “the members of the council expressed their concern about the findings of the report ... (and) expressed general interest to be kept abreast of the progress of the matter as the secretary general deems appropriate”.

It thanked the secretary general for informing members of the findings.

Asked about the status of the Libyan draft, Mr Churkin said he believed the Libyan delegation “sensed the tenor of the discussion of this matter by the members of the council and does not currently intend to move on its proposed draft resolution”.

Britain’s UN ambassador John Sawers noted that Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the council during a ministerial debate on the Middle East on Monday that “we look to the government of Israel to investigate each of these incidents in the light of the inquiry’s findings”.

He added: “That in our view is the right next step.”

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