Atul Aneja

Israel’s conduct in sharp focus

Hamas too guilty of war crimes

DUBAI: Israel’s military conduct during its winter offensive of Gaza has been brought into sharp focus again by the United Nations General Assembly, which has endorsed the Goldstone report that focuses mainly on alleged Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The bulk of the investigation that the United Nations had mandated is a detailed compilation of Israeli human rights violations during the 22-day conflict. However, a section of the 575-page report also finds Palestinian groups, including Hamas, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

After two days of debate, 114 member-states voted in favour of a resolution endorsing the report’s findings and its recommendations for further action. Eighteen countries voted against and another 44 states abstained.

The report authored by South African jurist Richard Goldstone concluded that Israel had used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians and used Palestinians as human shields.

The investigation recommended that unless the parties to the Gaza war investigated the allegations of war crimes on their own within six months, the cases should be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), the permanent war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The resolution asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to revert to the General Assembly within three months “with a view to considering further action, if necessary”, and to refer the findings to the Security Council.