Accounting for Gaza

The UN HUman Rights Council has focused in recent years so intently – even exclusively – on Israel's treatment of the Palestinians that many accuse it of anti-Israel bias. Let us hope that, when the Council this week examines Judge Richard Goldstone's report on human rights violations by both Israel and Hamas during the Gaza conflict earlier this year, it proceeds fairly.

New York – This week the United Nations Human Rights Council will debate the report of the fact-finding mission led by Judge Richard Goldstone on human rights violations in the Gaza conflict. Let us hope  it is a full and fair examination based on the report’s findings and recommendations.

Goldstone and his team concluded that both Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group controlling Gaza, committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during the period of the conflict which the investigation addressed. The report calls for credible investigations of  alleged rights violations  and recommends that the UN Security Council require both sides to report back within six months on the results, including any prosecutions they will carry out in connection with the violations identified. Failure to do so, in the view of Goldstone’s commission, should result in the Security Council referring the matter to the prosecutor for the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Unfortunately, rather than debating Goldstone’s detailed findings and the merits of his recommendations on ways to move forward, there are indications that governments may focus instead on the process leading up to the investigation and seek to limit full discussion of the report. As someone involved in that process, I feel it is important to put my views on record, as comments I made previously are now being used as part of the effort to undermine  Judge Goldstone and his important work.

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