Cast Lead 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
NEW YORK – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Kimoon submitted a
report to the
General Assembly Wednesday on alleged war crimes committed by both
the Palestinians during Israel’s Cast Lead offensive last year.
report is partially an implementation of recommendations contained in
Goldstone Report. Based on a factfinding mission led by Justice Richard
Goldstone, the Goldstone Report determined that Israeli forces and
had committed war crimes and breaches of humanitarian law during the
and recommended further investigation.
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“In March 2010, I again visited
Gaza and Israel,” Ban wrote in a foreword to the report, adding that he was and
remains “deeply affected by the widespread death, destruction and suffering in
the Gaza Strip, as well as moved by the plight of civilians in southern Israel
who have been subject to indiscriminate rocket and mortar fire.”
report consists of inputs received from the Israeli and Palestinian sides on
their respective efforts to investigate the alleged violations.
Israeli component of the report, 41 pages, notes that since January 2010, Israel
has made “significant progress investigating allegations of misconduct by the
IDF during the Gaza Operation,” stating that Israel has “devoted extensive
resources to conducting thorough and independent investigations, including
interviews of hundreds of IDF soldiers and Palestinian
Additionally, the Israeli component states, the IDF has
conducted command investigations of operational activity, with 47 criminal
investigations and criminal prosecutions of four soldiers in separate
Additionally, it notes that six officers have been disciplined
or subject to command sanctions.
“Israel’s investigations are ongoing,
and Israel remains committed to investigating allegations regarding
of the Law of Armed Conflict,” the report notes, adding that the IDF has
“numerous changes to its operational procedures and policies in order to
enhance the protection of civilians from the hazards of battle and the
protection of private property during military operations.”
Palestinian materials in Ban’s report, it is asserted that “Israel has
repeatedly claimed that its attacks on Gaza were necessitated on the
self-defense because of the launching by Palestinian armed resistance
rockets and mortars against its territory and civilian population. It
stressed that there are no verifiable or reliable estimates of the
rocket launchings or mortar shelling, where they originated from, where
landed and what, if any, damage they caused, except with respect to
deaths reported by Israel and consisting at the highest reported figure
casualties over a period of four to five years (including three or four
personnel who would be considered valid military targets under
humanitarian law),” the report adds.
The Palestinian component of the
report calls to lift all blockades on Gaza, and for Israel to allow for
freedom of Palestinian movement.
It also calls for the release of
The Palestinian component additionally states that
“Palestinian armed resistance groups who hold Israeli soldier Gilad
detention should release him on humanitarian grounds; pending such
should recognize his status as prisoner of war, treat him as such, and
Despite its 247-page length, Ban’s report has met with
detractors from non-governmental organizations for being a compilation
independent investigations rather than offering any new
“Israeli investigations still fall far short of being thorough
and impartial, while Hamas appears to have done nothing at all to
alleged violations,” Iain Levine, program director at Human Rights
in a statement following Ban’s report.
We regret that the
secretarygeneral merely passed on the reports he received from Israel
Palestinian side instead of making the failings of these investigations
Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East division of Human
Rights Watch, told The Jerusalem Post that Israel should mount
separate from those of the IDF, also investigations of overarching
well as instances of individual wrongdoing.
He did note, however, that,
in contrast, “Hamas seems to have done nothing in that regard.”