In a press briefing at the US Department of State Friday, spokesperson Ian Kelly told reporters that the US government had a problem with the UN Human Rights Commission Report authored by Richard Goldstone because, according to Kelly, the report gives ‘a one-sided mandate to look into the Israeli side of it only, without giving an opportunity to the authorities themselves to look into it’.But even a cursory look into the Goldstone Report’s recommendations shows that it does, in fact, call for domestic investigations by both the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority into human rights violations by both sides. The report very clearly recommends that Israel and Hamas both conduct domestic investigations of the violations documented in the report, and states that if this is not done within six months, that the matter be taken up by the International Criminal Court.
The report, commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council, was mandated to explore allegations of human rights violations by both the Israeli military and Palestinian resistance groups during Israel’s 3-week long invasion of Gaza in January of this year. During that invasion, over 1400 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces (over 80% of whom were civilians who did not engage in any resistance), while 4 Israeli civilians were killed by Palestinian resistance fighters.
The Israeli government worked to hinder Goldstone and the members of his mission, preventing them from entering Israel to investigate possible human rights violations by Hamas. Despite the Israeli obstruction, Goldstone and his team did manage to document a number of violations by Hamas. But these were dwarfed in both size and number by the Israeli human rights violations against Palestinians that were documented by Goldstone and his team.
Richard Goldstone, the primary author of the report, appeared on Arab television this week challenging the US government to provide specific criticisms of the report. Thus far, Goldstone says that the US government has simply stated that there are ‘serious flaws’ with his report (the same words used by Israeli government officials), without indicating what those flaws are.
When asked by a reporter in Friday’s press briefing to address the specific problems with the Goldstone report, Ian Kelly told the reporter, ‘ I think you could go back into transcripts of briefings here’ to find the specifics. But searching through the transcripts shows only the general statement that there are ‘serious flaws’ with the report, without addressing any of the content of the report.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak both asserted on Sunday that the Israeli government will conduct no investigations of any Israeli soldier, or of the actions of the Israeli military as a whole.
The Palestinian Authority in Gaza, led by the Hamas party, has not announced whether or not it will conduct investigations of war crimes by Palestinian resistance groups, but Hamas officials have voiced their support for the recommendations of the Goldstone Report.