Israeli Officials Fear ‘Second Goldstone Report’ on Jerusalem Construction
by Zach Pontz
In three months the United Nations Human Rights Council is expected to issue a report condemning Israel’s development activity in Jerusalem. Israeli daily Maariv detailed how various high level officials are expressing concern about possible repercussions of such a condemnation and officials have met recently to discuss possible outcomes of the report. Estimates include the possible adoption of the report by the UN Security Council, sanctions against Israel or the establishment of mechanisms for monitoring and supervising construction in Judea and Samaria.
Another possibility could be that the UN General Assembly asks the International Criminal Court in the Hague to review Israeli construction.
The officials have expressed concern that the report could be tantamount to the Goldstone report. That report was issued in 2009 following the Gaza War and was considered to have been a product of extreme bias against Israel. Richard Goldstone, the South African jurist who headed the commission that issued the report, later distanced himself from it and even accused the UNHRC of anti-Israel bias.
According to Maariv the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry have been preparing legal arguments that explain the construction, as well as details for construction plans under which progress depends on the behavior of the Palestinians and whether their UN upgrade prompts them to join other UN agencies such as the International Criminal Court. The officials further explained that the construction in “ E1-does not affect the territorial contiguity of a possible future Palestinian state.
On Tuesday Israel announced plans to build 1,500 new housing units in East Jerusalem. The announcement elicited criticism from several members of the UNHRC .