04/22/2009, 00.00
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Durban II: final declaration approved. Tension between Israel and Iran (and Oslo) remains

The controversy raised by the Iranian president risked polarizing the good results obtained by the text. The Vatican delegation is satisfied. Judges of the Organization of the Islamic Conference. and Norwegian lawyers accuse Israel of war crimes and ethnic cleansing during the recent war in Gaza.

Geneva (AsiaNews) - The final declaration of Durban II was hastily approved by voice vote yesterday evening. The Vatican is expressing its satisfaction, but meanwhile the controversy continues between Israel and Iran. Norway and Iran want to try Tel Aviv for the bombings in Gaza.

Originally, the final declaration was supposed to have been voted on at the end of the conference, on April 24, but because of the media explosion provoked by the speech of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the decision was made to approve the document early. Ahmadinejad's accusations against Israel, the abandoning of the conference by some of the European delegates, and the boycott by some Western countries risked absolutizing one aspect of the issue of racism, while the final document, which is relatively balanced, calls upon the international community to combat all forms of religious, ethnic, and racial discrimination, as well as marginalization and intolerance of AIDS patients, women, etc . . .

The Vatican delegation that participated in the UN conference said that it was satisfied with the final declaration. In an interview with Vatican Radio, Msgr. Silvano Tomasi, a permanent observer at the UN in Geneva, said that "the document is not perfect, but it respects the essential points of human rights, and opens the way to proceed forward in negotiations on a variety of issues that, for the first time, were accepted in a universal manner.

On returning to Tehran, Ahmadinejad was met at the airport by a jubilant crowd that blocked the car transporting him. He said that "Israel suffered a serious blow" in Geneva. But in the international press (excluding that of Iran), no appreciation is being expressed for his speech, and some have called what happened in the hall last April 20 "a circus show." Yesterday, the Iranian president accused Israel of "brutal acts" and "ethnic cleansing" toward the Palestinians. And he did this at a meeting of more than 200 judges from the countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran. The judges are looking for ways to accuse Tel Aviv of war crimes and genocide in the war in Gaza in December of 2008 and January of 2009.

According to Agence France Presse, Norwegian lawyers have accused the Israeli leaders of war crimes for the Gaza offensive. According to the Norwegian criminal code, the courts can open proceedings that include serious violations of human rights. The lawyers have said that they will charge Tzipi Livni (prime minister at the time) and Ehud Barak (defense minister at the time), asking for their extradition and arrest.

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