Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the United States administration to endorse the report of the United Nations Fact-finding Mission on Gaza. The investigation committee was led by Judge Richard Goldstone.HRW stated that should the administration of President Barack Obama ignore all or parts of the report, it would be contradicting the stated commitment of Obama to justice and human rights around the globe.
Such an issue, HRW added, would undermine the international efforts to revive the peace process in the Middle East.
It also said that falling to demand justice for the civilians in the Gaza Strip and in southern Israel would reveal hypocrisy in the U.S polices.
“The Obama administration cannot demand accountability for serious violations in places like Sudan and Congo but let allies like Israel go free. That approach will bolster abusive governments that challenge international justice efforts.” HRW said.
The fact-finding committee investigated the 22-day war last December and January and found that some acts could constitute war crimes against humanity. It also stated that neither Hamas in Gaza or Israel conducted impartial investigations into war crimes allegations.
The report also suggested giving the Hamas-led government in Gaza and Israel, six months to conduct an independent probe. It also suggested forming an independent committee that would monitor and report whether the two dies are conducting real investigations.
Several officials in the United States rejected the Goldstone report. US permanent representative to the UN, Ambassador Susan Rice, said that the report is unbalanced and one-sided.
Rice said that the US government has serious concerns about many recommendations in the report, and described it as unbalanced and one-sided. Rice believes that the Israeli actions were self-defense.
But the investigation addressed violations carried out by Palestinian armed groups and Hamas, and violations carried out by Israel. But Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation and rejected its outcome.
“The US claim that Israel can be relied upon to investigate itself ignores the well-documented pattern of impunity in the country for past violations of international humanitarian law”, Human Rights Watch said.
HRW added that past experiences show that Israel lack the political will to conduct impartial investigation of its own violations.
It is worth mentioning that the report also addressed abuses by the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank.
Meanwhile, Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW Middle East Director, said that “Failure to demand justice for attacks on civilians in Gaza and southern Israel will reveal hypocrisy in US policy”.
She added that the Obama administration cannot demand accountability for serious human rights violations in the Congo and the Sudan while at the same times allows its allies, like Israel, to go free without accountability for its violations.
Nearly 1419 Palestinians, mainly civilians, were killed by the Israeli army during the war, and only 9 Israelis were killed by Palestinian fire and shells. 4 of the Israeli deaths were caused by Israeli ‘friendly fire.’
Full Human Rights Watch report: