Goldstone Report

Released on September 29, 2009, this report details the findings of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Mission was headed by South African Justice Richard Goldstone and also included three other members from different parts of the world. In investigating the Israeli military incursion into the Gaza Strip from December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009 as well as the events leading up to it, the report found Israel and Hamas/other Palestinian militant groups guilty of violating international human rights and humanitarian law, including actions that amounted to war crimes. On the Israeli side, the report focused on Israel’s Gaza blockade prior to the war in addition to its military’s actions during the war that were "directed at the people of Gaza as a whole." In regards to Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups, the report emphasized the thousands of rockets and mortars launched into civilian areas of southern Israel before the war. The report concluded with a request that both sides conduct their own investigations into the allegations. Reactions to the report were explosive, with the Israeli government declaring the report to be factually incorrect and politically biased and others desiring to try Israel at the International Criminal Court. Israel eventually conducted an investigation about which a U.N Human Rights Council Panel said, "fell significantly short of meeting international standards" and Human Rights Watch said lacked credibility and thoroughness, while Hamas did not conduct any serious investigation. On April 10, 2011, Justice Goldstone wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post reconsidering some of the report’s findings regarding Israel and war crimes, which some Israeli officials deemed a delayed apology while others found his Op-Ed vague and unclear. See the Goldstone Report and other related documents at "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict," UN Human Rights Council. See also "The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict," Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner and Philip Weiss, Eds, Nations Books, 2011; and "Turning a Blind Eye: Impunity for Laws-of-War Violations during the Gaza War," Human Rights Watch, April 11, 2010. See also "Reconsidering the Goldstone report on Israel and war crimes," Richard Goldstone, April 1, 2011; and "Roundup on the Goldstone Controversy," Noura Erekat, Jadaliyya, April 13, 2011.

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