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israel scoffs at international law, and calls the Goldstone report "nothing"

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115 countries of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) have called on the UN Security Council to hold Israel responsible for atrocities committed in Gaza during its offensive.

NAM Ambassador Maged Abdelaziz asked the Security Council on Wednesday to "seriously consider and act upon the recommendations" of the UN Fact Finding Mission headed by Richard Goldstone.

The move comes while the US Administration was planning to stall efforts by the countries to condemn Israel.

Washington says the war crime charges in the Goldstone report, should be dealt with in the Human Rights Council, not the Security Council.

The Security Council decided to review the issue in its Wednesday meeting despite the US pressure. However, the attempts by Washington to stall the process has sparkled outrage by right groups.

"That President Obama is receiving the Noble Peace prize after his failure to speak out during the Gaza war, and after his administration's protection of a state that has committed war crimes, is an abomination," Michael Ratner, president of the New York-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, told Inter Press Service.

"Sadly, its conduct at the Human Rights Council [in Geneva] where it called the Goldstone report deeply flawed shows that it will again do all in its power to try and bury any investigation of Israel for war crimes," he added.

Ratner warned that such moves would embolden Israel to continue its atrocities.

The failure to refer the Gaza matter to the ICC (International Criminal Court) undercuts any claim that the law is applied equally to Israel and the Palestinians.

A day before the UN Human Rights Council convenes to debate on a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes in Gaza, Tel Aviv threatens to scrap peace talks with Palestinians unless the damning report is dropped.

The threat came Wednesday as the report was being discussed at the UN Security Council (UNSC)'s regular monthly meeting on the Middle East.

During the UNSC meeting, Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki urged the 15-member body to adopt the report, compiled by a fact-finding mission headed by South African judge and international prosecutor Richard Goldstone.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will hold a special session to debate the issue on Thursday. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Spain and Norway on Wednesday and asked them not to back the Gaza report.

The Geneva-based body was initially set to vote on the report last week, but it was delayed until March 2010, after the Palestinian Authority withdrew its support for the report.

Having faced an unprecedented wave of condemnation and accusations of treason over his controversial decision, Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas made a U-turn and called for a special session of the UN Human Rights Council to vote on the report in order to save his image.

Different Palestinian factions, including Hamas, had accused Abbas of betraying the victims of the three-week war by bowing to pressure from the US and Israel. Both Israeli and US officials dismissed the report as biased.

If adopted, the UN Human Rights Council could refer the report to the UN Security Council. The UNSC can call for the prosecution of senior Israeli officials in the International Criminal Court, if Tel Aviv fails to launch its own investigations into the Gaza war under international scrutiny.

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that the United States will impose their veto in case of a vote by the Security Council," she told army radio.

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