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The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict was a team established by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) during the Gaza War as an independent international fact-finding mission to investigate violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in connection with the conflict. [1]

The mission was established on 3 April 2009, by the President of the UNHRC. Richard Goldstone, a respected international jurist from South Africa[2] was appointed to head the mission,[1] accompanied by Christine Chinkin of the United Kingdom, Hina Jilani of Pakistan and Desmond Travers of Ireland.[3]

The mission's controversial[4][5][6][7] final report was released 15 September 2009, and accused both Israeli Defense Forces and Palestinian militants of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It recommended that the sides openly investigate their own conduct and, should they fail to do so, that the allegations to be brought to the International Criminal Court.[8][9] The Israeli government rejected the report as prejudiced and full of errors.[10] The militant Islamic group Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, initially rejected the report's findings,[11] but then urged world powers to embrace it.[12]

The report received wide support among developing countries in the United Nations, while Western countries were split between supporters and opponents of the resolutions endorsing the report. Supporters argued that Richard Goldstone was a credible figure and that the recommendations of the report should be implemented. Critics argued that the report was factually and/or methodologically flawed and motivated by anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC. [13]

On 16 October 2009, the UNHRC passed a resolution endorsing the report and criticizing Israel, and on 4 November 2009, the United Nations General Assembly passed a (non-binding) resolution calling for independent investigations to be conducted by Israel and Palestinian armed groups on allegations of war crimes described in the report. On 3 November 2009, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution denouncing the report as "irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy". In contrast, the European Parliament passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone report in March 2010. The resolution called on the bloc's member states to "publicly demand the implementation of [the report's] recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes."


Fact finding mission



In response to the Gaza War, Organisation of Islamic Conference's executive committee assembled on 3 January and decided to ask the Human Rights Council to convene and consider the possibility of sending a fact-finding mission to Gaza.[14] On 12 January 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) adopted Resolution S-9/1, deciding in para. 14 among other things

to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission;[1]

Former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson expressed disappointment with the mandate upon being asked to head the Mission, and refused to head the Mission for that reason. She stated that the resolution adopted by UN Human Rights Council was one-sided and "guided not by human rights but by politics". Richard Goldstone initially refused his own appointment for the same reason, calling the mandate "biased" and "uneven-handed". Following Goldstone's objection, the mandate was informally widened on 3 April 2009 to cover activities by Palestinian militants as well, and this was the formulation quoted by the final report.[3][15] Its mandate was:

"to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

Speaking at Brandeis University, Judge Goldstone recalled that the then president of the UN Human Rights Council allowed him to work under the mandate Goldstone reformulated himself. Goldstone also noted that the widened mandate was presented by the president of the UNHRC to a plenary session, where it did not encounter a single objection.[16] He later described as "tiresome and inept" allegations forwarded by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the mandate had not been broadened to cover violations by all parties.[17]

However, critics (UN Watch, former Justice Minister of Canada Professor Irwin Cotler and US senators H.L. Berman and G.L. Ackerman) point out that despite the agreement between UNHRC's president and Judge Goldstone over widening the mandate, the mission's finding resolution that outlines that mandate was not formally superseded by UNHRC at its June session and the council's president does not possess the powers to legislate such changes on his own.[18][19][20] Furthemore, in the response to Justice Goldstone, Berman and Ackerman wrote that the mandate that is formulated in the mission's founding resolution was the only one referenced in the 16 October UNHRC resolution that adopted the Report.[21] In a formal letter sent in July 2009 to Justice Goldstone reasoning Israel's decision not to cooperate with the mission, Aharon Leshno Yaar, Israeli ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN wrote: "as a matter of law, no statement by any individual, including the President of the Council, has the force to change the mandate of the Mission. Moreover, ... in a press conference on 16 April 2009, Ambassador Uhomoibhi stated that it is operative under paragraph 14 of Resolution S-9/1 which "spells out the mandate"."[22]


According to the mission's report, "The President appointed Justice Richard Goldstone, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, to head the Mission. The other three appointed members were: Professor Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who was a member of the high-level fact-finding mission to Beit Hanoun in 2008; Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, who was a member of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur in 2004; and Colonel Desmond Travers, a former officer in the Irish Defence Forces and member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for International Criminal Investigations."

Richard Goldstone

The head of the UN Human Rights Council commission in Gaza strip aftermath.

Richard J. Goldstone is a former South African Constitutional Court judge and served as the chief prosecutor of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.[23]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) applauded the selection of Goldstone to head the mission, saying that "Justice Goldstone's reputation for fairness and integrity is unmatched, and his investigation provides the best opportunity to address alleged violations by both Hamas and Israel".[24] According to UNHRC's mission page, at the time of the appointment to head the committee Goldstone was a board member of HRW.[25] Professor Gerald Steinberg of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor and journalist Melanie Phillips said that even though Goldstone resigned from HRW after the inquiry began, his impartiality was compromised by his link to the organization that accused Israel of war crimes in several reports issued during the course of the mission.[26][27][28]

Goldstone, together with Colonel Travers and Hina Jilani, had signed an open letter, published 16 March 2009, addressed to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council Ambassadors, expressing "shock" over the events in Gaza and asking to hold those who perpetrated "gross violations of the laws of war," "gross violations of international humanitarian law" and "targeting of civilians" to account.[29] The chief rabbi of South Africa lawyer Dr. Warren Goldstein and Melanie Phillips asserted that this statement, made before the work of the mission has begun, violated provisions for impartiality of the fact-finding missions.[28][30]

Mary Robinson called Goldstone "a dedicated and unimpeachable human rights lawyer and advocate" who "was able to work with the [Human Rights] Council’s president to secure an agreement that he felt confident would permit the mandate to be interpreted in such a way as to allow his team to address the actions taken by both parties to the conflict."[31]


In January 2009, before being selected for the mission, Christine Chinkin together with 30 other academics and lawyers co-signed a letter that was published in the Sunday Times. The letter described Israel's military offensive in Gaza as "an act of aggression", stating that "invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law", and adding that "the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes". The letter also stated that the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings are "contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes".[32][33] Critics (UN Watch, US Senator and the author of the US H.Res.867 H.L. Berman and groups of UK and Canadian lawyers) took the view that professor Chinkin should have been disqualified from the committee to preserve the impartiality of the mission because of the public opinion she expressed concerning the Gaza conflict prior to accepting the appointment. Chinkin's prior statements, the lawyers wrote, "necessarily compromises the integrity of this inquiry and its report".[21][34][35][36]

In August 2009, NGO UN Watch submitted a petition to the UN, calling for the disqualification of Chinkin over prior statements she made that, according to the NGO, brought her impartiality into question.[37] UN Watch further noted that in a May 2009 meeting with Geneva NGOs, Chinkin denied that her impartiality was compromised, saying that her statement only addressed jus ad bellum, and not jus in bello; however, according to UN Watch, the statement not only determined that "Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence," but additionally charged that they were "contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law," and constituted "prima facie war crimes."[38]

The inquiry members rejected the petition and said that the mission investigated whether Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority had unnecessarily caused death or injury to innocent civilians by specific acts of armed conflict that violated international humanitarian law and international human rights law stating "On those issues the letter co-signed by Professor Chinkin expressed no view at all."[39][40] The members further wrote in their reply that the fact-finding mission cannot be considered a judicial or even a quasi-judicial proceeding.[40] Hillel Neuer, director of UN Watch, said that the arguments raised by the mission ignored the well-established set of standards to international fact-finding missions.[41] Goldstone said that the letter signed by Chinkin could have been the grounds for disqualification, had the mission be a judicial inquiry.[42] Two groups, a group of UK lawyers and academics and a group of Canadian lawyers, pronounced separately their support for the UN Watch request that Prof. Chinkin be disqualified from the United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict and expressed their disappointment that the well-founded request was rejected by the mission.[35][36][43]


The mission convened on 4 May in Geneva and commenced work. During the week-long session the members of the mission held meetings with stakeholders, including UN Member States, NGOs and representatives of the UN. By the end of the session the mission had established the methodology and a three-month programme of work.[3] The mission issued a press release on 8 May describing the mandate, progress and plans. Goldstone stated that the focus of the investigation would be on "an objective and impartial analysis of compliance of the parties to the conflict with their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law, especially their responsibility to ensure the protection of civilians and non-combatants," adding "I believe that an objective assessment of the issues is in the interests of all parties, will promote a culture of accountability and could serve to promote greater peace and security in the region."[44]

The mission issued a "Call for Submissions" on 8 June inviting "all interested persons and organizations to submit relevant information and documentation that will assist in the implementation of the Mission's mandate". The call stated that submissions should focus on "events and conduct that occurred in the context of the armed conflict that took place between 27 December 2008 and 19 January 2009" and that "for the purposes of its mandate, events since June 2008 are particularly relevant to the conflict."[3][45]

The mission members conducted two field visits to Gaza entering through the Rafah Border Crossing from Egypt having been refused access to Israel and the West Bank by the Government of Israel. The first field visit was conducted to the Gaza Strip from 1-5 June where the mission conducted interviews with victims and witnesses and visited the sites of incidents. Investigations continued during the second field visit from 26 June to 1 July, which included the mission's public hearings for victims and experts from Gaza.[3]

The head of the mission Judge Goldstone said that in the course of the investigation the committee conducted 188 interviews, reviewed 10,000 pages of documents and inspected 1,200 photographs.[46]

Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, citing alleged anti-Israel bias in the UNHRC and the mission's one-sided founding resolution. Israel also stated that the mission would be unable to question Palestinian militants who fired rockets at Israel.[15][32][47] The team was deprived of access to military sources, and denied Gaza Strip entrance via Israel.[47]

According to contemporary Western media reports, Hamas had been very cooperative with the team,[47] nevertheless, Goldstone has pointed out that in some areas of information the committee did not receive full cooperation from the Palestinians, either.[42] It was also reported that the team had been escorted by Hamas minders who could have influenced witnesses.[48][49] Goldstone dismissed these allegations as "baseless".[42]

At the end of a four-day fact-finding trip to Gaza, the head of the team expressed his shock by the scale of the destruction in Gaza areas. Goldstone refused to comment on the ongoing investigation's content, but announced that the team will hold public hearings with the war's victims later in June, in Gaza and Geneva.[50] Alex Whiting, a professor at Harvard law school, said cases like the one being probed by the UN inquiry team are hard to investigate, especially without military records.[47]

On 6 July morning session, private Israeli witnesses and representatives testified in front of the committee, describing several years' lives under rocket attacks' threat.[51][52] The last to take the floor during the session was Noam Shalit, father of the Israeli captive soldier Gilad Shalit.[52][53] Later that day, pro-Palestinian witnesses and experts from Israel and the West Bank testified.[54] The next day, a military expert testified on weapons use by Hamas and Israel and an international law expert testified at Goldstone’s Gaza hearings.[55] Following the two-days session, Richard Goldstone said that the investigation entered its final phase, but noted, however, that it was too soon to conclude that war crimes were committed during the conflict.[56]

Israeli lawyer Charles Abelsohn criticized the objectivity of the committee members, citing Colonel Travers who said during the public hearings that "there have been instances of the shooting of children in front of their parents. As an ex-soldier I find that kind of action to be very, very strange and very unique", asking the witness to comment on those insights.[57]

The commission's report states that during and after investigations, several Palestinians cooperating with and supporting the Mission were detained by Israel security forces, one of them is Muhammad Srour, a member of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in Nilin,[58] who testified before the Mission in Geneva, en-route back to West Bank he was arrested. After UN intervention, he was released. The report further notes that there were also a number of anonymous calls and messages received on private phone numbers and e-mail addresses by some of those who provided information to Mission or assisted in its work in the Gaza Strip.[59] Israeli security sources said that Sruor was detained for questioning on suspicion that he was involved in terror activity and that his visit to Geneva had no bearing on the arrest.[60] Another witness, Shawan Jabarin, General Director of Palestinian human-rights organisation Al Haq had to be heard by videoconference as he has been subject to a travel ban by Israel since 2006 preventing him from leaving the West Bank.[61][62] The ban was reviewed and confirmed several times by the Israeli High Court on the grounds that Jabarin is a senior activist of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.[61][62]


On 15 September 2009, a lengthy 574 page report by Judge Goldstone's UN inquiry team was released, officially titled "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict".


The report concluded that the Israel Defence Force (IDF) and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. While the report condemned violations by both sides, it more strongly criticized Israeli actions.[63]

Goldstone stated that the mission "wasn’t an investigation, it was a fact-finding mission” and that the conclusion that war crimes had been committed "was always intended as conditional". He described the allegations as "a useful road map" for independent investigations by Israel and the Palestinians.[64] He later added that the mission did not conduct a judicial investigation, and stated that its findings did not amount to "the criminal standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt". He described it as a prima facie case, "reasonable on weighing the evidence" and said that the information obtained would not be admissible as evidence in a criminal court.[65]

Accusations of war crimes on the part of the Israel Defense Forces

Blockade of Gaza allegations

The report stated that the blockade constituted a violation of Israel's obligations as an occupying power in Gaza.[66]

Israel withdrew all its citizens and soldiers from Gaza in 2005. Since then, according to various legal scholars, Israel has not been an occupying power in Gaza.[67]

Civilian targeting allegations

The report disputes Israel's claim that the Gaza war would have been conducted as a response to rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, saying that at least in part the war was targeted against the "people of Gaza as a whole"[68] The report also says that Israel’s military assault on Gaza was designed to "humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability”.[46]

The report focused on 36 cases that it said constituted a representative sample. In 11 of these episodes, it said the Israeli military carried out direct attacks against civilians, including some in which civilians were shot “while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags”.[46] Talking to Bill Moyers Journal, Goldstone said that the committee chose 36 incidents that represented the highest death toll, where there seemed to be little or no military justification for what happened.[69] According to the report, another alleged war crime committed by IDF include “wanton” destruction of food production, water and sewerage facilities; the report also asserts that some attacks, which were supposedly aimed to kill small number of combatants amidst significant numbers of civilians, were disproportionate.[46]

The report concluded that Israel violated the Fourth Geneva Convention by targeting civilians, which it labeled "a grave breach".[70] It also claimed that the violations were "systematic and deliberate", which placed the blame in the first place on those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.[71]

Israel later reprimanded two senior army officers who were responsible for firing artillery shells at a UN compound. Israel said they had acted in violation of Israel's rules of engagement. [72][73]

An Israeli officer who served as commander during the Gaza War has claimed that the Israeli army "went beyond" its previous rules of engagement on the protection of civilian lives in order to minimise military casualties. According to the officer, civilians in Gaza were shot even if they did not appear to pose a threat to Israeli troops. A more junior officer who served at a brigade headquarters during the operation described the new policy as one of "literally zero risk to the soldiers". The commander's remarks reinforce testimonies from soldiers collected by the veterans' group Breaking the Silence. They also appear to contradict the official military doctrine that it is the duty of soldiers to run risks to themselves in order to preserve civilian lives. Michael Sfard, a prominent Israeli human rights lawyer, commented that if the commander's comments are true, they represent a "smoking gun". [74] According to Sfard, this is because the comments prove the main revelations in the Breaking the Silence report. What was common to the testimonies was a change to rules of engagement so that either there were no rules, or they allowed soldiers to shoot anything that moved in the vicinity. Sfard continues that "If the quote is true, that means that Israel has abandoned the main safeguard that makes sure that combatants realize the most basic principle of international humanitarian law: the principle of distinction between combatants and civilians. That principle confers a duty to target only combatants and military objects and prohibits the targeting of civilians and civilian objects – unless and for such time as they are actively engaged in hostilities." [75]

In a study on the report, Harvard law professor and vocal defender of Israel[76] Alan Dershowitz stated that the allegation of Israel targeting civilians "is made up of whole cloth and contradicted by the evidence purportedly relied on by those who wrote the report. Moreover, it is disproved by public record evidence deliberately ignored by the report."[77]

Al-Maqadmah mosque incident

The report stated that the strike on the al-Maqadmah mosque on the outskirts of Jabilyah occurred when between 200 and 300 men and women attended for their evening prayer, with 15 people being killed and 40 wounded as a result of the attack. The Mission has established that the Israeli armed forces fired a missile that struck near the doorway of the mosque. The Mission found that the mosque was damaged and lodged in its interior walls with "small metal cubes", several of which were retrieved by the Mission when it inspected the site. The Mission concluded that the mosque had been hit by an air-to-ground missile fitted with a shrapnel fragmentation sleeve, fired from an aircraft. The Mission based its findings on investigation of the site, photographs and interviewing witnesses. The Mission found no indications that the mosque was used to launch rockets, store munitions or shelter combatants. The Mission also found that no other damage was done in the area at the time, making the attack an isolated incident. The Mission concluded that the Israelis intentionally bombed the mosque.[8][78] Judge Goldstone said: "Assuming that weapons were stored in the mosque, it would not be a war crime to bomb it at night... It would be a war crime to bomb it during the day when 350 people are praying". He further added that there is no other possible interpretation for what could have occurred other than a deliberate targeting of civilians.[64] The report also reproduces a statement from the Israeli government concerning the attack, where the Israeli government both denies that the mosque was attacked and states that the casualties of the attack were Hamas operatives. The report says that the position of the Israeli government contains "apparent contradictions" and is "unsatisfactory" and "demonstrably false".[8]

Al-Maqadmah mosque incident findings reception

Researcher of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), headed by former Israeli diplomat Dore Gold, J. Halevi asserted that the commission disregarded a possibility of a drone strike aimed at a group of militants nearby which he attributes to the fact that the blast hit just outside the mosque.[64] Halevi also stated that the mission members did not examine freely accessible Palestinian sources, which show that 7 out of the 15 dead in the incident were armed groups operatives, including Ahmed Abu Ita who went to the Maqadmah mosque to meet other operatives nearby.[79][80][81] Halevi also challenged a conclusion of a deliberate strike, noting that the mosque had unexpectedly combined its sunset and evening prayers on the day of the incident as described in the report.[64]

Zeitoun incident

According to the investigation by the mission members, based on interviews with family members, neighbors, Palestinian Red Crescent personnel, submissions from various NGOs and visits to the site, the report says that hundred members of the extended al-Samouni family were gathered together in one house after the fighting in the area was over, ordered there by Israeli soldiers patrolling their Gaza neighborhood of Zeytoun as part of the ground phase of the Gaza War; when five men stepped out of the house to collect firewood, a missile struck them, fired, possibly, from an Apache helicopter; several more missiles followed, this time aimed directly at the house. In all, 21 family members were killed, including women and children. When the surviving al-Samounis attempted to leave and make their way to Gaza City, they were told by an Israeli soldier to return to the house.[64]

According to the researcher at the JCPA J. Halevi, an examination of freely accessible Palestinian sources shows that al-Samounis who testified in front of the commission, hid important details relevant to the events. He asserts that at least three of the family members were operatives of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, including Tawfiq Rashad Hilmi al-Samouni who was killed on the day of the incident. He further adds that the official Palestinian Islamic Jihad version, issued on that day, says that on the evening of the previous day and on the day of the incident its fighters had been engaged in hostilities against IDF soldiers in the area; another announcement of the organization states that one of Islamic Jihad's operatives, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni, was killed in fighting nearby. Halevi finally says that the four men who had left the al-Samouni house that day, might had gone out for a reason connected to the military activities taking place in the same area between Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives and IDF forces.[80][82]

Al-Fakhura school incident

The report says that IDF's mortar shelling near a United Nations-run Al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp, which was sheltering some 1,300 people, killed 35 and wounded up to 40 people. The investigation did not exclude the possibility that Israeli forces were responding to fire from an armed Palestinian group, as Israel said, but said that this and similar attacks "cannot meet the test of what a reasonable commander would have determined to be an acceptable loss of civilian life for the military advantage sought".[46] The mission criticized IDF for the choice of the weapons for the supposed counterstrike and concluded that the IDF fire at the Al-Fakhura street violated the law of proportionality.[83]

Researcher from JCPA, headed by former Israeli diplomat Dore Gold, stated that examination of freely accessible Palestinian sources shows that one of the key witnesses of the fact-finding committee on the incident was directly linked to the Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades and that contrary to the claims, there were Palestinian operatives in the Al-Fakhura school area. He also stressed that at least 6 militants were killed in the incident.[80] In the initial response to the report, Israeli Government replied that regarding this incident, the committee findings reflect the oversimplistic approach to complex military challenges during the urban fighting, implying that the mission members did not possess the information that was known to the force's commander at the time of the attack regarding the immediate threat, weapon's availability and potential risks to civilians.[84]

Abd Rabbo family incident

According to the Mission's report, the committee found Khaled and Kawthar Abd Rabbo to be credible and reliable witnesses and it had no reason to doubt the veracity of the main elements of their testimony, which it says is consistent with the accounts it received from other eyewitnesses and NGOs.[83] The report concludes that the Israeli soldiers deliberately shot at the family members, as they could not perceive any danger from the house, its occupants or the surroundings. The report bases its conclusion on the premise that the family, consisting of a man, a young and an elderly woman and three small girls, some of them waving white flags, stepped out of the house and stood still for several minutes waiting for instructions from the soldiers.[83]

Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini wrote that thorough checks even before the UN Mission revealed that Abd Rabbo family members had given different and contradictory versions to various news outlets that were ignored by the Goldstone report. He added that their testimonies' credibility is compromised by Al-Hayat Al-Jadida report that the Abd Rabbo family "kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress".[85]

A researcher from Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs colonel (ret.) J.D. Halevi claimed that contrary to the statements made by Rabbo family, information posted on the sites of Palestinian armed groups reveal the exchange of fire between the IDF and armed Palestinians in the area of the incident close in time to the events.[86][87]

White phosphorus allegations
White phosphorus munitions were used during the conflict by Israel (picture from Al-Jazeera).

The report says that Israeli forces were "systematically reckless" in determining the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas.[88] The writers highlighted the Israeli attack on the UN Relief and Works Agency compound in Gaza City on 15 January, the attack on the Al Quds hospital, and the attack on the Al Wafa hospital, each of which involved using white phosphorus. They described its use as disproportionate or excessive under international law. More generally, the UN report recommended that "serious consideration should be given to banning the use of white phosphorus in built-up areas.”[89]

Colonel Lane, military expert testifying in front of the fact-finding mission in July 2009, told that white phosphorous is used for smoke generation to hide from the enemy. He stated that "the quality of smoke produced by white phosphorous is superb; if you want real smoke for real coverage, white phosphorus will give it to you".[55] Professor Newton, expert in laws of armed conflict testifying in front of the committee, said that in an urban area, where potential perils are snipers, explosive devices and trip wires, one effective way to mask forces' movement is by white phosphorous. In certain cases, he added, such choice of means would be least harmful for civilian population, provided that the use of white phosphorous withstands the proportionality test. He also stressed that the white phosphorous munition is neither chemical nor incendiary weapon.[55]

Use of the munitions was first reported by The Times on the 5th Jan and this was followed by a variety of other sources. After numerous denials, its use was finally acknowledged by Israel on the 21st.[89] Israel said that the mode of this use was restricted to that which has been universally accepted as legitimate in battle situations and did not target civilians nor unduly put them at risk.[90]

Human shields allegations

The report also accused Israel of using Palestinians as “human shields” and torturing detainees.[89]. In 2010 Israel charged two soldiers with using a 9-year-old Palestinian boy as a human shield in the Gaza conflict. [91]

Accusations of war crimes on the part of Palestinian armed groups

The report also stated there is evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity by deliberately launching rockets and firing mortars into Israel, calculated to kill civilians and damage civilian structures.[92] The report accused Palestinian armed groups of causing psychological trauma to the civilians within the range of the rockets. It also concluded that killings and abuses of members of the Fatah political movement amount to a “serious violation of human rights”.[46]

The Mission, however, found no evidence of Palestinian armed groups placing civilians in areas where attacks were being launched; of engaging in combat in civilian dress; or of using a mosque for military purposes or to shield military activities.[93] This statement contrasted with media reports that Hamas fighters wore civilian clothes and concealed their weapons.[94] In March 2009, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam) published a report that included material supplied by the IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) as part of an effort to counter the Goldstone Report. It included videos and photographs reportedly showing that "dozens of mosques that were used by Hamas to store weapons, functioned as command centers or whose grounds were used to fire rockets into Israel."[95]

While discussing an obligation of Palestinian armed groups to protect the civilian population in Gaza, the report notes that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups. The Mission does not discount that the interviewees’ reluctance may have stemmed from a fear of reprisals.[96]


Israel should pay reparations

The report recommended, inter alia, that Israel pay reparations to Palestinians living in Gaza for property damaged in the conflict.[97]

Referral to International Criminal Court

The report called for the Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if the investigations are not conducted properly.[98]


Initial responses by involved parties


The Israeli government issued an initial 32-point formal response to the fact-finding mission's report on 24 September 2009. The response listed a series of what it argued were serious flaws and biases in the report, finally concluding that the report perverts international law to serve a political agenda. (See below.)

Also in October 2009, Israel pressured the Palestinian president to postpone asking for a UN vote on the Goldstone report. Yuval Diskin, head of the Israeli Shin Bet security service, met in Ramallah with President Mahmud Abbas and informed him that if Abbas refuses to ask to postpone the UN vote on the Goldstone report then Israel will turn the West Bank into a "second Gaza": the Shin Bet chief told Abbas that if he did not ask for a deferral of the vote, Israel would withdraw permission for mobile phone company Wataniya to operate in the Palestinian Authority and threatened to revoke the easing of restrictions on movement within the West Bank that had been implemented earlier in 2009.[99]

Israeli President Shimon Peres said the mission's report "makes a mockery of history".

Israeli President Shimon Peres said that the report "makes a mockery of history" and that "it does not distinguish between the aggressor and the defender. War is crime and the attacker is the criminal. The defender has no choice. The Hamas terror organization is the one who started the war and also carried out other awful crimes. Hamas has used terrorism for years against Israeli children." Peres also stated that "the report gives de facto legitimacy to terrorist initiatives and ignores the obligation and right of every country to defend itself, as the UN itself had clearly stated." He added that the report "Failed to supply any other way for Hamas fire to stop. The IDF's operations have boosted the West Bank's economy, liberated Lebanon from Hezbollah terror and allowed Gazans to resume normalcy. The Israeli government withdrew (from Gaza) and Hamas began a murderous rampage, firing thousands of shells on women and children – innocent civilians, instead of rebuilding Gaza and caring for the population's welfare. (Hamas) builds tunnels and used civilians and children to shield terrorists and hide weapons."[100]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "The Goldstone Report is a field court-martial, and its findings were prewritten. This is a prize for terror. The report makes it difficult for democracies to fight terror."[101] On another occasion, Netanyahu said that the report ignored Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza and the Palestinian rocket attacks that preceded the war. He also warned world leaders that they and their anti-terror forces could be targets for charges similar to those in the report.[102] At the United Nations General Assembly, Netanyahu called the report biased and unjust, asking: "Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace."[103]

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said: "The Goldstone Commission is a commission established with the aim of finding Israel guilty of crimes ahead of time, [the commission] was dispatched by countries in which the terms 'human rights' and 'combat ethics' are unknown". He added that "the IDF was forced to deal with the lowest form of terrorists that set themselves the goal of killing women and children [by] hiding behind women and children. The state of Israel will continue to protect its citizens from the attacks of the terrorists and the terror organizations, and will continue to protect its soldiers from hypocritical and distorted attacks."[104]

Preliminary analysis by Israeli government

The Government of Israel issued a 32-point preliminary analysis of the report, titled "Initial Response to Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza Established Pursuant to Resolution S-9/1 of the Human Rights Council". The main arguments in the analysis were the following.

  1. The resolution mandating the mission was one-sided and prejudicial and the terms of the mandate were never changed.
  2. The composition of the Mission and its conduct raised serious questions about its impartiality.
  3. Incidents selected for examination were cherry-picked for political effect.
  4. The mission displayed double standards in acceptance of evidence: treating even photogaphic evidence presented by Israel as inherently untrustworthy, except when it could be used to condemn Israel, while uncritically accepting statements by Hamas; reinterpreting or dismissing self-incriminating statements by Hamas; and selectively quoting material from sources.
  5. The report includes misstatements of fact: for example, it stated that Israel discriminated against its non-Jewish citizens in providing shelter from Palestinian rocket attacks , when the shelter was provided on the basis of proximity to the Gaza Strip and did not discriminate between Jews and non-Jews.
  6. The report contains misstatements of law: for example, its description of the Israeli appeals process is outdated.
  7. The report fails to consider the military complexities of the war, makes judgments lacking necessary knowledge, and ignores Israel's extensive efforts to maintain humanitarian standards and protect civilians.
  8. The report unjustifiably minimizes the threat of terrorism and in effect vindicates terrorist tactics.
  9. The report presents its findings as judicial determinations of guilt, despite its admission that it does not reach a judicial level of proof; it commits egregious legal errors, including unjustifiable assumptions regarding intent and commanders' states of mind, as well as misinterpretation of the willfulness requirement of responsibility under international law.
  10. The report ignores Israel's own investigations into its conduct, overlooks the many independent levels of scrutiny in Israel's judicial system, misrepresents Israel's legal mechanisms and shows disdain for democratic values.
  11. The report makes one-sided recommendations against Israel while making only token recommendations with respect to Palestinians: for example, recommending Israel compensate Palestinians for attacks without recommending Palestinians compensate Israelis for attacks.

The analysis concludes that the report claims to represent international law but perverts it to serve a political agenda; that it sends a "legally unfounded message to states everywhere confronting terrorism that international law has no effective response to offer them", and that it signals to terrorist groups "that the cynical tactics of seeking to exploit civilian suffering for political ends actually pays dividends".[105]

Palestinian National Authority

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was accused by Hamas of committing "a very big crime against the Palestinian people" for agreeing to postpone a UNHRC discussion on the report

Following the postponing of the vote on the resolution in UNHRC, the Palestinian National Authority came under heavy criticism for agreeing to defer the draft proposal endorsing all recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission. Several Palestinian human rights organizations, condemning the PA's action, issued a statement under the title "Justice Delayed is Justice Denied".[106] Abbas agreed to postpone the vote on the Goldstone report following a confrontational meeting with Yuval Diskin, head of the Israeli Shin Bet security service.[107] Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced on 4 October that a new committee would be established in order to investigate the circumstances surrounding the deferral of the UN vote on the Goldstone Report.[108] Hamas officials in Gaza demanded Abu Mazen resignation for supporting the postponement of the vote at the UN Human Rights Council. Mahmoud al-Zahar said that Abbas was guilty of "a very big crime against the Palestinian people" over the PA's conduct at UNHRC.[109]

Palestinian representative to the United Nations Ibrahim Khraishi called the report unbiased and professionally compiled. He further added that "this report was important; what bothered some parties was that the report simply monitored international law, international humanitarian law and all relevant international instruments. This was not a political instrument that supported Palestine or Israel". He added the report was the first time killings of Palestinian civilians have been documented, and that his people would not forgive if those responsible were not punished.[110]

Eleven Palestinian human rights organizations, including two based in Israel, called on the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza to investigate Palestinian violations of international law allegedly committed during the Gaza War. Alleged violations include Palestinian attacks on civilians in Israel and instances of internal repression, such as summary executions in the Gaza Strip and arrests and torture in the West Bank. The letter asked to launch investigations before the February 5 deadline. The authors of the call said that for PLO efforts to have the report endorsed by the UN to be of lasting value, the Palestinian authorities must take action to implement its recommendations.[111]

United Nations

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Navi Pillay, endorsed the report. She stated she supported the report's recommendations, including its call for urgent action to counter impunity – meaning that Israel and Hamas must investigate and prosecute those who committed war crimes. She also contended that "holding war criminals accountable and respect for human rights are not obstacles to peace, but rather the preconditions on which trust and, ultimately, a durable peace can be built."[112][113]

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged "credible" investigations by both sides into the conduct of the Gaza conflict "without delay".[114]

Governments and regional organizations

United States

Ambassador Susan Rice, the US permanent representative to the UN, said: "We have very serious concerns about many recommendations in the report"[115] State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said: "Although the report covers both sides of the conflict, it focuses overwhelmingly on Israel's actions", adding that Goldstone opted for 'cookie cutter conclusions' about Israel's actions, while keeping 'the deplorable actions of Hamas' to generalized remarks".[116] The United States pledged to stand by Israel in the fight against the Goldstone report.[117] U.S. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff told the Security Council that whereas the US had "serious concerns" about the report's "unbalanced focus on Israel, the overly broad scope of its recommendations and its sweeping conclusions of law, it also took the allegations in the report seriously and encouraged Israel to conduct serious investigations.[118]

Shelley Berkley of Nevada and Eliot Engel of New York wrote in a joint statement: "Israel took every reasonable step to avoid civilian casualties ... It is ridiculous to claim that Israel did not take appropriate actions to protect civilian populations".[115]

Perceived unwillingness on the part of the United States to act on the Goldstone Report has been heavily criticized by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which represents 118 nations, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Stephen Zunes, professor of politics and international studies at the University of San Francisco, and Human Rights Watch.[119] Naomi Klein stated that instead of proving its commitment to international law, the United States is smearing the "courageous" report.[120]

House of Representatives resolution

On 3 November 2009, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution, H. Res. 867 (344 for-36 against)[121], calling the report irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.[122]

Howard Berman, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, wrote that, despite utmost respect to Judge Goldstone, the authors of the resolution wish to express several concerns. Some of them are:[21]

*The commission’s report lacks context. It does not take account of the nature of Israel’s enemy – operating from the midst of civilian populations, committed to Israel’s destruction, and fully supported by state actors Iran and Syria.

*The report does not take into account the extent to which witnesses from Gaza were likely intimidated by Hamas.

*In general, the report is credulous of Hamas claims but skeptical of Israeli claims.

Goldstone and several US-based rights groups denounced the resolution. Sarah Leah Whitson, a director of Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, commented that "this sort of resolution sends a terrible message to the international community about American willingness to believe in international justice for all. I hope that the members of Congress reject it. It's funny because it accuses the Goldstone Report of being one sided but it's not. It's this resolution that's one-sided and biased." [123] HRW also maintained that the House resolution "has factual errors and would help shield from justice the perpetrators of serious abuses - both Israeli and Palestinian".[124]


  • European Union The European Parliament passed a resolution endorsing the Goldstone report in March 2010. The resolution called on the bloc's member states to "publicly demand the implementation of [the report's] recommendations and accountability for all violations of international law, including alleged war crimes." The vote passed despite an intensive lobbying effort on the part of the European Jewish Congress, which represents 42 Jewish organisations on the continent. [125]
  • France The French foreign ministry called the facts revealed by the report "extremely serious" and deserving of utmost attention.[126] The French UN Ambassador Gerard Araud urged both sides to initiate "independent inquiries in line with international standards."[114]
  • Spain Talking to Israeli television Channel 2, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said that in any event, Spain would not seek to prosecute Israelis for alleged war crimes.[127]
  • Sweden Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt said he supported the report, and called Israel's refusal to co-operate with the investigation a mistake. Bildt characterized Goldstone as a person with high integrity and credibility, and called his report worthy of consideration. While Bildt spoke, Sweden held the rotating presidency of the European Union.[128]
  • Switzerland At the UNHRC, Switzerland commented favourably on the impartiality of the findings in the 575-page report. The Swiss ambassador called on Israel and Hamas to conduct independent investigations into the allegations of war crimes. He also called for an independent expert panel to oversee legal procedures on both sides.[129]
  • Turkey Turkey, which holds a seat in the Security Council until the end of 2010, has voiced support for discussing the report to the Security Council. Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdoğan called for "accountability" and said that guilty parties should be identified and face necessary sanctions.[130] He also accused Israel of raining "phosphorus bombs ... on innocent children in Gaza".[131]
  • United Kingdom In an interview with an Israeli radio station, the British Ambassador to the United Nations, John Sawers, supported the findings of the report and called for both Israel and the Palestinians to investigate its conclusions.[132] During the UN Security Council's meeting, he said that "the Goldstone Report itself did not adequately recognize Israel's right to protect its citizens, nor did it pay sufficient attention to Hamas's actions." Nevertheless, he further stressed the concerns raised in the report, which he said cannot be ignored.[118] In October 2009 it was reported saying that Ehud Olmert, Israeli prime minister during the conflict, would "probably" face arrest should he visit the UK.[133]
  • Netherlands Dutch foreign minister Maxime Verhagen said both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must investigate war crimes allegations, saying "there can be no impunity for serious human rights violations both on the Palestinian and the Israeli side". Verhagen also urged Israel to halt building settlements in the West Bank, calling the practice a serious obstacle to peace which "will have to stop".[134]

Asia and Africa

  • People's Republic of China A Foreign Ministry spokesman said China had voted in favor of the report "in the hope of protecting the human rights of the people in the occupied Palestinian territories and to promote the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace process."[135] Chinese members of parliament told a visiting delegation of the Israeli Parlament officials in Beijing that China will oppose discussing the Goldstone Commission's report at the UN Security Council and allowing the document to serve as a basis for law suits against Israel at the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The Chinese parliamentarians stressed that the UNHRC had the necessary tools to look into the report without the involvement of other institutions.[136]
  • Iran Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran's foreign minister, referred to the report when calling for legal action against the Israeli leadership saying that "the perpetrators of the Gaza war should stand before [an] international war crimes tribunal".[137]
  • Nigeria The Nigerian ambassador to the UNHRC, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, said that he Council should not dilute its efforts by vilifying the Fact-Finding Mission members and parts of the report - no useful purpose would be served by compounding the human rights situation in the region through sheer rhetoric or failure to act. He said that "the implementation of the report was crucial to addressing the pernicious issues of impunity and accountability".[110]


  • Arab League The Arab League called for implementation of the recommendations of the Goldstone report. Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa stressed the Arab League's commitment to closely follow up the situation, and to reassure implementation of Goldstone's recommendations in order to help "prevent future assaults".[138]
  • Namibia Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Egyptian Ambassador Hisham Badr welcomed the report, saying that those responsible for crimes should be brought to justice and called for an end to a "situation of impunity and defiance of the law".[110]
  • Organisation of the Islamic Conference On behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Pakistani Ambassador Zamir Akram welcomed the fact-finding mission and thanked them for presenting a comprehensive and objective account. Discussing responding to allegations of war crimes, he said that "it was now the time for action; words needed to be converted into deeds".[110]
  • United Nations Speaking in the UNHRC, numerous states called the report "balanced".[129]

Non-governmental organizations

Amnesty International stated that Goldstone's findings are consistent with those of Amnesty’s own field investigation, and called on the UN to act promptly to implement the report's recommendations.[139] Human Rights Watch called the report a significant step toward justice and redress for the victims on both sides, and called on the Security Council to implement the report's recommendations.[140]

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem, along with eight other Israeli human-rights NGOs, stated in a joint release that the report joins "a long series of reports" indicating that Israel's actions during the fighting in Gaza, as well as the actions of Hamas, violated the laws of combat and human rights law. The NGOs urged the Israeli government to investigate the charges made in the report, saying that they "expect the Government of Israel to respond to the substance of the report's findings and to desist from its current policy of casting doubt upon the credibility of anyone who does not adhere to the establishment's narrative."[141] At the same time, leaders of B’Tselem and Breaking the Silence think that the Goldstone accusation of an assault on civilians is incorrect.[142] The Executive Director of B'Tselem criticized some aspects of the report, particularly "very careful phrasing regarding Hamas abuses", such as lack of condemnation of mosques' misuses or human shielding, as well as supposedly sweeping conclusions regarding Israel.[143][144] Yael Stein, research director of B’Tselem, said that she does not accept the Goldstone conclusion of a systematic attack on civilian infrastructure, which she found unconvincing. At the same time, she urged to check out every incident and every policy by an independent body, because in her view the military cannot check itself and it has to be explained why so many people had been killed.[145]

The European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) - the international affiliate of the American Center for Law and Justice - claimed in its analyses of the Report that among numerous flaws in it, the Mission misstated the International Humanitarian Law regarding the obligation of the fighters engaged in hostilities to distinguish themselves from the civilian population by uniform (perfidy violation per Article 37 of the Protocol I).[146]

UN Watch criticized Goldstone's report methodologies that allegedly dismissed or ignored much of the evidence provided in Israeli Government report from July 2009 on the one hand and on the other hand endorsed unquestionably testimonies by Gaza officials.[147] Representatives of Simon Wiesenthal Center made similar charges.[148]


The Economist (UK) denounced the report as "deeply flawed" and detrimental to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, arguing that it was tainted by anti-Israel prejudice in the UNHRC. In particular, The Economist, while maintaining that allegations of Israelis committing war crimes were credible, chastised the mission's fact-finders for detecting little or no evidence in favor of the charge that Hamas endangered civilians by basing themselves around schools, mosques and hospitals, stating that the charge is supported by many reports in the public domain.[149] The Economist later printed a letter to the editor criticizing its position by Kenneth Roth (executive director of Human Rights Watch).[150]

The Times (UK) criticized the report as "provocative bias" and described as dangerous and unreasonable the moral equivalence drawn in the report between Israel and Hamas. The Times praised Israel for quietly continuing to conduct its own investigation into the conflict despite the report, and concluded that Israel "is an accountable, democratic, transparent nation, and fighting to remain one amid challenges that few other nations ever have to face".[151]

The Washington Post (US) wrote that "...the Goldstone commission proceeded to make a mockery of impartiality with its judgment of facts. It concluded, on scant evidence, that "disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy" by Israel. At the same time it pronounced itself unable to confirm that Hamas hid its fighters among civilians, used human shields, fired mortars and rockets from outside schools, stored weapons in mosques, and used a hospital for its headquarters, despite abundant available evidence".[152]

The Wall Street Journal (US) harshly criticized the report, calling it a "new low" in United Nations bias on Israel-related matters. WSJ wrote that the commission's members "were forced to make some astonishing claims of fact" in order to reach some of their conclusions. In particular, WSJ criticized the report's claim that the Gaza police force was a "civilian" agency and its inability to establish Palestinian use of mosques for military purposes despite evidence to the contrary.[153]

The Financial Times (UK) called the report "balanced" and criticized what it called attacks on Goldstone. It argued, however, that Israeli objections to the UNHRC were on strong ground, stating that "council members from Libya to Angola hide behind the Palestinian cause to deflect attention from their own records of serious human rights abuse".[154]

The Independent wrote that "significant cracks are opening" in Israel's "facade of rejection" of the report, and argued that Israel should open a parliamentary investigation after the model of the Kahan Commission to look into the Israeli military's behaviour in Gaza. The paper wrote that "strong democratic nations are able to scrutinise their own behaviour, even in times of conflict. It is time for Israel to demonstrate its own democratic strength".[155]

Military commentators

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, addressed the UNHRC at its October 2009 special session discussing the report, speaking on behalf of UN Watch. He said that Hamas is "adept at staging and distorting incidents". Kemp stated that during the conflict the Israel Defense Forces "did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare" and that Palestinian civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas' way of fighting, which involved using human shields as a matter of policy, and deliberate attempts to sacrifice their own civilians. He added that Israel took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, aborted potentially effective missions in order to prevent civilian casualties, and took "unthinkable" risks by allowing huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza during the fighting.[156] Goldstone stated that the inquiry ignored the possibility to interview Col. Kemp "because the report did not deal with the issues he raised regarding the problems of conducting military operations in civilian areas".[157]

Australian Major General Jim Molan (retired), who served as chief of operations of the Iraq multinational force in 2004–05, stated that "The Goldstone report is an opinion by one group of people putting forward their judgments, with limited access to the facts, and reflecting their own prejudices. The difference in tone and attitude in the report when discussing Israeli and Hamas actions is surprising." ... "as a soldier who has run a war against an opponent not dissimilar to Hamas, facing problems perhaps similar to those faced by Israeli commanders, my sympathies tend to lie with the Israelis." ... "But having stated my prejudice, I think I may be more honest than Goldstone, who seems to pass off his prejudices in a report that cannot be based on fact, and uses judicial language and credibility to do so. It comes down to equality of scepticism: if you refuse to believe anything the Israelis say, then you have no right to unquestioningly accept what Hamas says."[158]

Legal commentators

Former Canadian Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Canada and former Director of the Human Rights Program at McGill University Professor Irwin Cotler called the inquiry "inherently tainted", agreeing with Mary Robinson and Richard Goldstone that its original mandate was "deeply one-sided and flawed" prior to being broadened, and stating that the UNHRC is "systematically and systemically biased against Israel".[159] He opposed the report which he regarded as "tainted". Nevertheless, he is in favor of establishing an independent inquiry into the Gaza war, saying that Israel would set a precedent if it creates such an inquiry that according to his best knowledge no other democracy had.[160]

Princeton professor emeritus of international law Richard Falk, appointed in 2008 by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to serve as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on "the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967", endorsed the report as "an historic contribution to the Palestinian struggle for justice, an impeccable documentation of a crucial chapter in their victimization under occupation". Writing in Electronic Intifada, Falk further commented that the report appeared to him to be "more sensitive" to Israel's contentions that Hamas was guilty of war crimes, and that the report in many ways "endorses the misleading main line of the Israeli narrative". Falk was critical of charges that the report, or the UNHRC, were biased and inferred that such criticism amounted to an attempt to "avoid any real look at the substance of the charges".[161]

York University scholar of human rights and humanitarian law Professor Anne Bayefsky said that the report, which claims to be a human rights document, never mentions the racist, genocidal intent of the enemy which Israel confronted after years of restraint. She added that the report relies on testimonies from witnesses speaking under circumstances that gave rise to "a fear of reprisals" from Hamas should they have dared to tell the truth.[162]

Alan Dershowitz claimed that the problem with the report is what its composers willfully and deliberately refused to see and hear. He said that the commission ignored easily accessible videotapes that show Hamas operatives routinely firing rockets from behind human shields, and the report dismissed eyewitness accounts published by reputable newspapers and admissions by Hamas leaders regarding Hamas military activities.[163]

University of Toronto professor of law Ed Morgan wrote in the Toronto Star that in dealing with the alleged use of human shielding of the Gaza civilian population by Hamas, the report "put its head in the sand", saying merely that "[t]he mission notes that those interviewed in Gaza appeared reluctant to speak about the presence of or conduct of hostilities by the Palestinian armed groups". The article also criticized the way the committee dismissed first-hand evidences from IDF soldiers implying that mosques were used as launching points for Hamas attacks and as weapons storage facilities."[164]

Professor Daniel Friedmann, who served as the Israeli Minister of Justice during the Gaza War, criticized what he called the "reinterpretation" of evidence unfavorable to Hamas. As an example, he cites the statement of the Hamas police force spokesman saying that "police officers received clear orders from the leadership to face the [Israeli] enemy". He says that the committee uncritically accepted the explanation that the intention was that in the event of an invasion, the police would continue to uphold public order and ensure the movement of essential supplies.[165]

Writing in the JURIST, Laurie Blank of Emory Law's International Humanitarian Law Clinic and Gregory Gordon of the University of North Dakota School of Law said that the Goldstone Report's major flaw is that it fails the law. In their view, the Report incorrectly claims Israel disproportionately attacked civilians by relying on information gathered after the fact and discounting contemporaneous Israeli intentions or actions and the surrounding circumstances; the Report unjustly accuses Israel of a disproportionate response to eight years of Hamas's attacks, unfairly presenting Operation Cast Lead as disproportionate overall; the Report treats Israel and Hamas disproportionately by holding them to different standards, merely suggesting that Hamas's actions "would constitute" legal violations.[166]


Noam Shalit, father of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit held captive by Hamas, urged the UN to take all possible measures to implement the findings of the Goldstone report. The Goldstone report calls for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit and, while Shalit is in captivity, for access to him by the International Red Cross.[167]

Residents of southern Israel who testified before the commission regarding Palestinian rocket attacks on the region said that their testimonies were largely ignored.[168]

Noam Chomsky argued that the Goldstone report is biased in favour of Israel since the report failed to question Israel's contention that it was acting in self-defence. Chomsky stressed that the right to self-defence requires that peaceful means are first exhausted before resorting to military force, something Israel "did not even contemplate doing".[169]

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), the main federation of trade unions in the United Kingdom, "welcomed" the findings of the report.[170]

J street, an American lobby in the United States, called on Israel to establish an independent state commission of inquiry to investigate the accusations detailed in the report.[171]

Richard Landes, who also maintains the "Understanding the Goldstone Report" site, published in the December 2009 volume of the Israeli MERIA Journal critical analyses of the Goldstone report. Landes argued that the report fails to investigate seriously the problem of Hamas embedding its war effort in the midst of civilian infrastructure in order to draw Israeli fire and then accuse Israel of war crimes; the report is credulous concerning all Palestinian claims, contrasted with a corresponding skepticism of all Israeli claims; the report harshly judges on Israelis for war crimes, contrasted with its resolute agnosticism concerning Hamas intentions. Landes concluded that Goldstone actually participates in Hamas' strategy and encourages the sacrificing of their own civilians.[172]

In an interview on the independent US news broadcaster Democracy Now, Norman Finkelstein questioned the way the report judged the events in Gaza based on the laws of war, saying that Gaza did not meet the criteria of a war zone, calling it instead a "massacre". He went on to say that there were no fighting in Gaza, and referred to quotes from the testimonies of the Israeli soldiers published in the report by NGO Breaking the Silence. Concerning the substance of the report, Finkelstein says the Goldstone report is in-line with reports compiled by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch in the findings that Israel had targeted civilians and the Palestinian infrastructure. [173]

Mission members' responses to criticism


Goldstone dismissed accusations of anti-Israel bias in his report as "ridiculous"[174] and invited "fair minded people" to read the report and "at the end of it, point out where it failed to be objective or even-handed".[175] Speaking in the UNHRC, Goldstone rejected what he called a "barrage of criticism" about his findings and said the answers to such criticism are in the findings of the report.[176] Goldstone said that the United States, for example, had failed to substantiate its charges that the report was biased. In an interview with Al Jazeera, Goldstone challenged the Obama administration to identify the flaws the US said it has found in the report.[177][178] Alan Dershowitz in his analyses of the Report responded that as of January 2010 Goldstone had generally refused to reply substantively to credible critics of the Report and declined Dershowitz's offer to publicly debate Goldstone about its contents.[77]

Goldstone referred to his experiences of South Africa to reject Israeli PM Netanyahu's arguments that the report would make peacemaking more difficult, saying that "truth-telling and acknowledgement to victims can be a very important assistance to peace".[179][180]

In an interview with the Jewish Forward, published on 7 October 2009, Goldstone emphasized that his task was to conduct a "fact-finding mission" and not an "investigation." He acknowledged the reliance on Palestinian (Gazan and Hamas) testimonies, noting his mission cross-checked those accounts against each other and sought corroboration from photos, satellite photos, contemporaneous reports, forensic evidence and the mission’s own inspections of the sites in question. He further acknowledged that "We had to do the best we could with the material we had. If this were a court of law there would have been nothing proven. ... I would not consider it in any way embarrassing if many of the allegations turn out to be disproved."[70]


Harper's Magazine published a brief telephone interview with Desmond Travers in which he was asked to respond to criticism of the mission and the report. He rejected the criticism that insufficient weight was given to the difficulties of fighting in the urban environment, and said that he was surprised by what he called "the intensity and viciousness of the personal attacks aimed at members of the Mission". He also said that the mission found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions; in two cases investigated, neither was used as anything but a place of worship. He added that he had seen no credible criticism of the report itself or of the information in it.[181] Travers' statement regarding the use of mosques was challenged by a researcher at JCPA colonel (res.) Halevi. Halevi said that the use of mosques as munition storage is supported by photographs of weapons seized in the Salah a-Din mosque in Gaza City during the operation, and the committee did not explain why it chose to disregard the information completely.[81]

Subsequent developments

Further discussion in the United Nations

Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Council vote on the resolution. Green represents support, blue represents opposition, brown means abstain, and tan means absent.

The vote for the UNHRC resolution endorsing the report was delayed until the council's meeting in March 2010, after Palestinian delegation dropped its support for a resolution, apparently under heavy US pressure.[182] On 11 October 2009, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called on the UN Human Rights Council to hold a special session to endorse the Goldstone Report.[183] UN officials announced that the UN Human Rights Council will reopen the debate about the report's findings on 15 October.[184] UN Watch issued a statement saying that the announced special Council's session would be a gross abuse of the procedures.[185]

On 15 October, the UNHRC endorsed the report, a move that will send it on to more powerful UN bodies for action. The resolution to the council condemned Israeli human rights violations in east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as chastised Israel for failing to cooperate with the UN mission.[186] The resolution text also calls on the council to endorse the Goldstone Report, however the resolution explicitly mentions only Israeli violations of international law.[156]

25 of the UNHRC members, mostly developing countries, voted in favor of the resolution; the United States and five European countries opposed; eleven mostly European and African countries abstained and Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote.[186]

The "unbalanced focus" of the ratification was criticized by U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly[187] and U.S. ambassador to the UNHRC Douglas Griffiths [188]

Israeli officials rejected the UN Human Rights Council decision to endorse the report. Israeli Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, Hamas and Palestinian Authority representatives welcomed the vote.[189]

Complete endorsement vote results

The report was adopted by a vote of 25 in favour, six against, and 11 abstentions at a meeting held on the 16 October 2009. The result of the vote was as follows:[190]

In favour (25): Argentina, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, and Zambia.

Against (6): Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Ukraine, and United States of America.

Abstentions (11): Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Slovenia, and Uruguay.

Absent (5): Angola, France, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, and United Kingdom.

Criticism by Goldstone

Richard Goldstone, the head of the mission which compiled the report, criticized the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution for targeting only Israel and failing to include Hamas: "This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope that the council can modify the text".[191]

General Assembly

The United Nations General Assembly endorsed a resolution calling for independent investigations to be conducted by Israel and Hamas on allegations of war crimes described in the Goldstone report. The resolution was passed by overwhelming numbers with 114 in favour and 18 against, and 44 abstentions. The resolution calls on the UN Secretary General to report to the General Assembly within three months "with a view to considering further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies", and to send the report to the Security Council.[192] The resolution enjoyed wide support among the Non-Aligned Movement bloc and the Arab bloc that comprise a majority of 120 votes. Most developing countries voted in favor. The countries that voted against the resolution were: Australia, Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Poland, Slovakia, The Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine and the United States. Some European countries, namely Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus, Ireland, Portugal, Malta, Serbia, Slovenia and Switzerland, voted in favor of the resolution. Other European countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain, abstained. [13]

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said the vote showed that Israel has a "moral majority", adding: "[we] are pleased that 18 democratic 'premier league' states voted in line with Israel's position, while 44 South American and African states abstained".[193] The Palestinian ambassador to the UN stated that "the General Assembly sent a powerful message", adding that if Israelis do not comply, "we will go after them."[192]

The General Assembly passed a second resolution on February 26, 2010 to call once more for credible investigations into war crimes allegations detailed in the report, giving both sides five months to report on their investigations. The resolution was passed by a vote of 98-7 with 31 abstentions, with several European countries changing their vote from against to abstaining or from abstaining to supporting relative to the first resolution. Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak attributed the change in voting partly to a negative reaction in Europe to an assassination carried out in Dubai, which was largely been blamed on Israel. [194][195]

Security Council

Libya requested an emergency session of the UN Security Council on 7 October to consider the content of the report by UNHRC fact-finding mission.[109] The request was rejected, but the Security Council agreed to advance its periodical meeting on the Middle East from 20 October to 14 October and to discuss the war crimes allegations raised in the report.[196] The report became the focus of the Security Council's monthly Mideast meeting on 14 October. Council diplomats say there is little chance that the Security Council will take any action, primarily because of objections by the United States, which said the report should be handled by the Human Rights Council.[197] All of the permanent members of the Security Council, which wield veto powers, oppose involving the Security Council in the report.[198]

Israeli internal investigations

The UNHRC Mission's report recommended that both sides in the conflict open credible independent investigations into their own actions.[199] The Israeli military opened about 100 internal investigations into its actions during the conflict, of which about 20 were criminal.[199] The Prime Minister's Office released a statement on 24 October stating that the Israel Defense Forces had investigated most of the incidents and accusations of human rights abuses mentioned in the report.[200]

Goldstone and many human rights organizations said it was insufficient for the military to investigate itself, and the United States urged Israel to mount an independent inquiry. Goldstone also stated that an independent investigation in Israel "would really be the end of the matter, as far as Israel is concerned".[199]

In October, support grew within Israel for the launch of an independent inquiry, similar to the Kahan Commission, which Israel set up after the 1982 Lebanon War, and the Winograd Commission, established following the 2006 Lebanon War. The military and Defense Ministry opposed an independent inquiry, arguing that it would discredit the military's own internal investigations.[199] Israel Radio reported on 26 October that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would put together a team of legal experts and foreign ministry officials, possibly headed by Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman, that would reassemble and reevaluate material gathered by the IDF in its investigations, to ensure that the investigations were thorough and that no facts were covered up. According to the report, the team would not question soldiers and officers.[200]

Two authors of the Israeli armed forces' ethical code have called on Israel to investigate some of the claims raised in the Goldstone report. Prof. Moshe Halbertal and Prof. Avi Sagi claim the report is flawed, but nonetheless call for investigations concerning some of its findings. The report's claims which they believe merit investigation include those of Israeli troops opening fire on a Palestinian mother and daughter carrying white flags, the destruction of homes in the conflict's final days, and harming civilian infrastructure such as power stations and water facilities.[201] Similarly, former Israeli Supreme Court President Aharon Barak has advised Attorney General to support the setting up of a state investigative committee or a governmental inquiry committee, endowed with investigative and subpoena powers, to look into the claims raised by the Goldstone report. Barak is said to believe that nothing but a committee with investigative power would be an appropriate response to the claims of Israeli war crimes.[202] The chief legal officer of the Israeli defence forces, Pnina Sharvit-Baruch, advocated establishing a commission of inquiry to respond to the Goldstone report on Israel's conduct. Sharvit-Baruch believes the report's harsh condemnation of Israel's conduct was "very, very damaging" to Israel's international standing, and that that Israel risked turning into "a kind of South Africa or Serbia" or a "criminal" or "racist" state in international opinion. She argued that an inquiry was needed to provide Israel with arguments that it had complied with the report's recommendations, rather than to uncover actual war crimes. [203]

In January 2010 it was reported that the Israeli military is completing a rebuttal to the Goldstone report. Its contents will remain under wraps at least until the counterreport is submitted to UN officials. However, some details were disclosed by the officers compiling the paper. For example, the IDF calims that they have photographic proof that Gaza’s sole flour mill was accidently hit by artillery in the course of a firefight with Hamas militiamen and not deliberately destructed by air strike as the Goldstone report alleges. Israeli government has yet to decide whether to submit the findings to independent scrutiny.[204] Israel Radio reported that Israel will present UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with its response to the Goldstone report, put together by the National Security Council, the Justice Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, and the IDF prosecutor, by January 28th to meet the February 5th deadline set by the UN General Assembly.[205] Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi are pushing for the establishment of a judicial investigative panel to review the internal IDF investigations and to determine whether those investigations were thorough. The idea of the panels is a compromise between those, like Barak and Ashkenazi, who argue that the IDF can be counted on to investigate itself effectively, and those who favor an independent investigative body to look into alleged wrongdoing during the Gaza operation, as demanded by the Goldstone report.[206]

In January 2010, eight human rights organizations in Israel reissued a call to the government of Israel to establish, an independent and impartial investigation to thoroughly examine the allegations of violations of international law during Operation Cast Lead.[207] The call was issued by Adalah, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, B'Tselem, Gisha, Hamoked, Physicians for Human Rights - Israel, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din and Rabbis for Human Rights.[207] The NGOs said that the current examinations will not be accepted as an appropriate response to the Goldstone report because, in their view, they do not conform to the demands set by the Goldstone fact-finding mission.[207] They stated that Israel’s "refusal to hold an independent investigation will expose military officers and members of the previous government to investigation and legal proceedings likely to take place outside Israel."[207]

In February 2010, Human Rights Watch also reported that Israel has until that point failed to conduct an independent investigation into the alleged war crimes in Gaza. "An independent investigation is crucial to understand why so many civilians died and to bring justice for the victims of unlawful attacks," said Joe Stork, HRW's deputy director for the Middle East.[208]

Hamas response

Addressing the allegations in the report, a spokesman for Hamas in Gaza said that the rockets fired at Israel were in self-defense and were not intended to target civilians: "We were targeting military bases, but the primitive weapons make mistakes".[46]

Human Rights Watch immediately rejected the claim: "Hamas' claim that rockets were intended to hit Israeli military targets and only accidentally harmed civilians is belied by the facts. Civilians were the target, deliberately targeting civilians is a war crime." HRW deputy Middle East director Joe Stork stated: "Hamas can spin the story and deny the evidence, but hundreds of rockets rained down on civilian areas in Israel where no military installations were located".[209][210] The Associated Press noted that "Hamas fired hundreds of rockets toward Israeli towns and cities during the fighting, killing three Israeli civilians".[211]

In what the Associated Press called "a rare deviation from Hamas' violent ideology", Hamas also expressed regret for killing Israeli civilians. Several days later, however, Hamas retracted the apology, stating that its report was incorrectly interpreted. According to Gaza analyst Naji Sharrab, the retraction was likely a result of public pressure in the Gaza Strip. "They are addressing two different audiences," Sharrab said of Hamas.[212] Ahmed Assaf, a spokesman for the rival Palestinian party Fatah said he was "stunned" at the apology and said Hamas should instead apologize rather to fellow Palestinians for the deaths and injuries Hamas caused during its violent struggle with Fatah over control in Gaza in 2007, which he called a "bloody coup".[213]

Possible future ramifications

Mustafa Barghouti, a Palestinian democracy activist, believes that the Goldstone report would have massive ramifications for the United States and other countries involved in military conflicts.

It has been suggested by some states, individuals, organisations and media outlets that the Goldstone report may have ramifications for other present and future conflicts, particularly conflicts between states and non-state actors such as terrorist organisations.

Israel has said that the Goldstone report poses a challenge to the ability of states to defend themselves against terrorism, and warned that similar allegations could be made against other militaries fighting in comparable circumstances. In a statement released by Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Israel claims that the report "[t]ies the hands of democratic countries fighting terror worldwide" and "[p]romotes criminal proceedings against forces confronting terrorism in foreign states."[214] Following statements by the United Kingdom's Ambassador to Israel calling upon Israel to investigate the allegations contained in the report, Israeli officials reportedly responded that "[i]f a precedent is set of Israelis being prosecuted for acts during the Gaza war, Britons could also be placed in the dock for actions in Iraq and Afghanistan."[215] Similarly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an interview broadcast on Israel's Channel 10, said that "... countries that are fighting terrorism must understand that this report hurts not only us but them as well. It hurts peace. It hurts security."[216]

Opinion and editorial pieces expressing similar views have been published in a variety of newspapers and media outlets in the US and Israel, some claiming that American and European military forces could be subject to similar criticism for their operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.[217][218][219][220][221]

An article published by the BBC said that the fact that the Goldstone report might have consequences for countries fighting terrorists that hide among civilians "may have been a consideration for the US and some Nato countries which either voted against the UN resolution or abstained [at the General Assembly vote]." The article concludes by stating that human rights groups note that the report has reinforced efforts to tackle issues of impunity and lack of accountability for war crimes.[198]

In an interview conducted by Al-Jazeera, American Professor of law and former Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli Defense Forces Amos N. Guiora and Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti both stated that they believed that the Goldstone report would have massive ramifications for the United States and other countries involved in military conflicts. According to Guiora the report "[minimizes] the nation-state's right to self-defence" and "raises extraordinarily important questions for American policymakers and for American commanders presently engaged in Afghanistan and Iraq and that same question is true with respect to other armies."[222]

On 26 February 2010, in testimony before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "admitted that the report was problematic for the United States and other countries, which face the same type of war on terrorism coming out of populated areas." She also warned that if the Goldstone report were to set the international standards, the US and many other countries might be accused of war crimes for their military operations.[223]

In the wake of the report, and following receipt of material from South African, International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated he was considering opening an investigation into whether Lt. Col. David Benjamin, an IDF reserve officer, allowed war crimes to be committed during the Gaza war. Benjamin served in the Military Advocate General's international law department, but was actually abroad for most of the period of the conflict and already retired from active duty. Because of his dual Israeli-South African citizenship, he is according to Moreno-Ocampo within the jurisdiction of the ICC.[224]

The European Initiative, a pro-Israeli group, lodged an itemized legal complaint with the Belgian Federal Prosecutor’s Office and demanded that the top Hamas leadership in Gaza and Damascus be prosecuted for war crimes. The plaintiffs are Israelis who hold Belgian citizenship and live in the Gaza periphery communities that have been targeted by rockets. The suit is based on the Goldstone Report, as well as on reports by B’Tselem and Amnesty International.[225][226]

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, wrote that the even-handed and impartial approach of the team led by Goldstone is indispensable in preventing future human-rights violations and in establishing a solid base for peace and security.[227]

See also


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  4. ^ Israel debates response to Gaza report, BBC News 24 October 2009
  5. ^ Britain criticised for opting out of UN vote condemning Israel, The Times 17 October 2009
  6. ^ 'Middle East Peace Process Faces Paralysis', Sky News 18 October 2009
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  9. ^ UN condemns 'war crimes' in Gaza, BBC, 15 September 2009
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  12. ^ Haniyeh: World must back Goldstone's Gaza report, Ma'an, 20 September 2009.
  13. ^ a b Breakdown of UNGA vote on Goldstone Report
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  15. ^ a b "Goldstone's UN inquiry team arrives in Gaza". BBC. 1 June 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2009. 
  16. ^ Goldstone in remarks at Brandeis university, cf. 08:30
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  18. ^ False accusations in the mirror, JPost, 15 September 2009.
  19. ^ U.N. Human Rights Council fails to ratify changes to Goldstone Mission, UN Watch, 5 July 2009.
  20. ^ Human Rights Watch’s Ken Roth: Ends Justify the Means?, UN Watch, 27 August 2009.
  21. ^ a b c Berman’s Response to Goldstone on House Gaza War-Crimes Resolution
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  25. ^ Biographical information of the members
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  27. ^ From Gulag Liberators to Saudi Retainers, NRO, July 21, 2009
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  36. ^ a b 30 Canadian lawyers protest biased U.N. Goldstone Commission, UN Watch, September 2009
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  45. ^ Call for Submissions, UN, 8 June 2009
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  148. ^ Opportunity missed, The Economist, 19 September 2009.
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  207. ^ Hamas: Israel manipulating evidence of war crimes, Ma'an News Agency 07-02-2010
  208. ^ Human Rights Watch rejects Hamas' claims on rockets, BBC 28-01-2010
  209. ^ Rights group faults Israel's Gaza war crimes probe, AP 28-01-2010
  210. ^, Associated Press 02-2010
  211. ^ Rivals slam Hamas for "apology" to Israelis, Reuters 02-2010
  212. ^ Goldstone Fact-Finding Report: A challenge to democracies fighting terror, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs 17 September 2009.
  213. ^ Israeli officials warn against support for UN report, The Independent 11 October 2009.
  214. ^ Goldstone Report: Interviews with PM Netanyahu on Israeli television, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs 17 September 2009.
  215. ^ Britain's Terror Double Take, Wall Street Journal 16 October 2009.
  216. ^ The U.N. sides with terrorists, Washington Times 19 October 2009.
  217. ^ UN report a victory for terror, The Boston Globe 24 September 2009.
  218. ^ U.S. Is "Concerned" About the Goldstone Report on Gaza; Maybe Washington Should Turn Its Eyes on Afghanistan and Itsel,. The New Republic, 17 September 2009.
  219. ^ Grave blow for Israel, Ynetnews 16 September 2009.
  220. ^ Riz Khan - The Goldstone report dispute - 4 Nov 09 - Part 1, Al-Jazeera 4-11-2009.
  221. ^ Clinton: Goldstone problematic for other countries, Ynetnews 26 February 2010.
  222. ^ "ICC may try IDF officer in wake of Goldstone Gaza report". 24 September 2009. 
  223. ^ The foreign passports legion, Yehuda Shohat, Yediot, December 24 2009
  224. ^ [ Gaza rocket victims to Belgium: Try Hamas chiefs for war crimes, Haaretz, December 24 2009
  225. ^ The Vital Importance of Ending Impunity in Israel and Palestine (Huffington Post, Sept. 30, 2009)

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