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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel on Friday rejected a U.N. General Assembly resolution urging an investigation into a report saying war crimes were committed in Gaza, and condemned the world body vote as "completely detached from realities."
In a statement, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in response to Thursday's vote that Israel "maintains the right to self-defence," and would "continue to act to protect the lives of its citizens from the threat of international terrorism."
The resolution, endorsing a report on the Gaza war commissioned by the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, was nonbinding and seen as unlikely to force either Israel or Islamist Hamas rulers in Gaza to investigate the findings.
But Israel has responded with outrage to the findings issued in September by a panel led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, seeing the document as an Arab bid to undermine the reputations of its military and political leaders.
"Israel rejects the resolution of the U.N. General Assembly, which is completely detached from realities on the ground that Israel must face," the Foreign Ministry statement issued by spokesman Yigal Palmor said.
Palmor also maintained that Israel had "demonstrated higher military and moral standards than each and every one of this resolution's instigators," during the war in December in which more than 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
He also said Israel took some encouragement from what he called "the large number of member states who voted against or abstained" as showing the resolution "does not have the support of the moral majority."
The resolution, approved by 114 countries with 18 opposed and 44 abstaining, followed Goldstone in calling on Israel and "the Palestinian side" to undertake within three months credible investigations into the report's charges.
Goldstone's report blasted both sides in the conflict but was harsher towards Israel which refused to cooperate with the judge's investigation.
(Writing by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Alison Williams)