Israeli officials on Wednesday bluntly dismissed one of the main recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission’s report on the three-week war in Gaza last winter: a call for the Israeli government to begin an independent investigation of “serious violations” of international humanitarian and human rights law, including evidence of war crimes, during the military campaign.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that the internal military investigations into the Israeli army’s conduct in Gaza already under way were “a thousand times more serious” than the investigation just completed by the United Nations mission led by Richard Goldstone. [continued…]
Nicole Goldstone, the daughter of Richard Goldstone, whose report on Operation Cast Lead alleged that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza, maintained on Wednesday that her father “is a Zionist and loves Israel.”
Speaking from Toronto, where she now lives, Nicole told Army Radio she had many conversations with her father when he was asked to head the UN inquiry into the Gaza conflict.
“I know better than anyone else that he thought however hard it was to accept it, he was doing the best thing for everyone, including Israel,” she said. “He is honest, tells things how he sees them and wants to uncover the truth.” [continued…]
Attorney Michael Sefarad, who specializes in human rights international law, was more cautious: “The Goldstone report is highly unusual, since it states Israel’s inquests into the operation were unworthy. The bottom line is that this report brings us one step closer to seeing foreign courts hear war crimes cases involving Israeli officials.”
Sefarad too said the report carries no immediate repercussions, adding that it does, however, correlate with previous reports – all of which could potentially lead to the conclusion that war crimes were indeed committed during Operation Cast Lead.
“The report may prompt Western countries to detain and try Israeli officers and officials. The UN Security Council can delegate the ICC to launch an official probe, but the US’ veto power renders that unlikely as well.”
Sefarad said that a “true, comprehensive investigation of the operation and the allegations of war crimes by Israel and the IDF, could have prevented any international proceedings.” [continued…]