There is pressure on Israel and Palestinian authorities to investigate claims they committed war crimes during the Gaza conflict in December and January.
A report from the UN Human Rights Council blames both sides for war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. The report says the matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague if investigations are not carried out. Richard Goldstone, head of the UN fact finding mission on the Gaza conflict, said: “The efforts by Israel to investigate the alleged violations of international law have been pusillanimous. And on the other side there has been a complete absence of investigation by the Gaza authorities in an event to deter or stop the unlawful attacks by rockets and mortars fired into southern Israel.” More than 1300 Palestinians died; the death toll on the Israeli side was 13. Israel did not cooperate with the UN inquiry, claiming the mandate of the commission “pre-established Israel’s guilt”. Yigal Palmor, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “The commission was really a farce of a human rights fact finding commission. It wasn’t a real effort to seek the truth.” A spokesman for the Hamas group in Gaza rejected the claim that the firing of rockets into Israel could amount to war crimes. He said it was self-defence, calling it a right that is “sacred under international law”.