The United Nations has ordered Israel and the Palestinians to investigate claims of war crimes.
A resolution passed at the UN’s General Assembly calls for both sides in last year’s Gaza conflict to launch enquiries into possible crimes against humanity. Israel, the US and several EU members were among the 18 countries that voted against the resolution. Britain and France abstained along with 42 other nations while the remaining 114 backed the resolution. The war crimes allegations come from a UN human rights report led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone. It accuses Israel of using disproportionate force and deliberately targeting civilians in the December-January conflict, which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead. Thirteen Israelis were also killed by rockets fired from Gaza, attacks which the report says could also amount to crimes against humanity. The resolution gives both sides three months to start their enquiries. However it is not legally binding. Only the Security Council can pass binding resolutions and most analysts say it is unlikely to do so in this case.