UN Gaza investigation 'in final stage'

Veteran int'l judge Goldstone: Premature to talk about team's conclusions on war crimes allegations.

By AP, JPOST.COM STAFF
July 7, 2009 18:58
2 minute read.
UN Gaza investigation 'in final stage'

Goldstone means business 248 88. (photo credit: AP [file])

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A UN-backed investigation into Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip is its final phase, international investigator Richard Goldstein said Tuesday. He noted, however, that it was too soon to conclude that war crimes were committed during the conflict. Goldstone also added that his team regretted Israeli authorities having blocked it from visiting Israel and the West Bank, but that testimony from victims from those areas was heard in Geneva. Israel refused to cooperate with the mission because it regarded it as having biased instructions from the UN Human Rights Council, which has a track record of repeatedly singling out Israel for criticism and turning a blind eye to any Palestinian wrongdoing. Goldstone said he regards the mandate of the fact-finding mission as requiring an independent investigation into all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 military operations. "The testimonies we have heard from victims and witnesses ... have been very difficult to hear, but I believe it is important that we listen to these stories," said Goldstone. He said it would be premature, however, to talk about any conclusions the team may have made or whether it has enough evidence to present a case of war crimes. The hearings gave a voice to the victims and keeps them from being lost among the statistics, he said. "Last week we were in Gaza and heard two days of hearings and listened to the stories of intense pain, loss and suffering from the people of Gaza," Goldstone said. "Yesterday and today in Geneva we have heard from victims and witnesses from Israel and from the West Bank, and they too have shared with us moving stories." He noted his preference to observe people and hear their testimonies where they were affected, and said it would have been better to hold the hearings in the south of Israel, where Israelis have been subjected to continued rocket attacks from Gaza. "Obviously on this mission visiting Gaza was very important, not only to speak to people and hear what they suffered, what they endured, but also to see the physical damage, which I think shocked all of us, the extent of it," Goldstone said. No party to the conflict was fully cooperative, he said. "That's the nature of this beast," Goldstone said. "One's dealing with strategic issues, one's dealing in some respects with intelligence matters, and one's got to do the best one can." Goldstone says the team still plans to pose questions to the Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, but then will wrap up the investigation and move on to writing its report, which is to be given to the United Nations by August.

Related Content

Mike Pompeo
August 18, 2018
Can Pompeo’s Iran Action Group deliver what Trump promised?

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN