As Gaza marks the first anniversary of Israel’s aggression, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has concluded its response to the report of Judge Richard Goldstone on Israel’s war, and will hand the response to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. The response would be sent after the Israeli political and security departments conduct final reviews.
Israel never cooperated with the investigation committee, headed by south-African Judge, Richard Goldstone, and said that its “own investigation proved that Israel acted within the codes of war, and did not deliberately target civilians”.
After the report was published, Israel totally rejected it, and only decided to look into it after being subject to international pressure.
The report was reviewed by the office of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin
Netanyahu, Ministry of Justice, The National Security Council and The Foreign Ministry.
The Israeli Army Military Prosecutor held several meetings in New York with UN Legal officials and provided them with the results of 120 “investigations” conducted by the army.
The report was made public on September 15, 2009; the 575-page report was mandated by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
It stated that Israel shelled civilian areas in the Gaza Strip and used
Phosphorous bombs against densely populated areas. It also stated that Israel shelled medical facilities, UNRWA buildings, educational facilities and mosques in addition to shelling infrastructure.
The Palestinian Center For Human Rights (PCHR), based in Gaza, reported that 1419 Palestinians were killed during the Israeli offensive in the period between December 27, 2008 and January 18, 2009. Dozens of Palestinians died of their wounds later on.
Approximately 6000 Palestinians were wounded, hundreds seriously; most of the casualties were civilians; women, elderly, children and infants.
The PCHR reported that during the offensive, Israel killed 252 fighters and 1167 civilians.
As for property destruction the PCHR reported that 2,114 houses (comprising 2,864 housing units) were completely destroyed, affecting 3,314 families (19,592 individuals). 3,242 houses (5,014 housing units) were partially destroyed – rendered uninhabitable – affecting 5,470 families (32,250 individuals).
16,000 houses suffered moderate damage. As a result of Israel’s continuing illegal closure, reconstruction and rehabilitation has proved impossible; 18.5% of households in the Gaza Strip have an urgent need for reconstruction of their housing unit, while 16.8% have an urgent need for repairs.