An edited and annotated version of the controversial United Nations investigation into the recent Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and reactions by mostly pro-Palestinian observers.
The result of a fact-finding mission commissioned by the UN and led by South African Justice Richard Goldstone to investigate potential war crimes committed by Israel during its Gaza attack in January 2009, the report has been heavily edited by American journalists Horowitz, Ratner and Weiss, introduced by Desmond Tutu and Naomi Klein, and is followed by 11 essays “that capture its ongoing impact.” The Israeli government refused to cooperate—despite the report’s finding that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority were complicit in crimes—and there is essentially one essay in Israel’s defense, by Moshe Halbertal, who condemns the report as “biased and unfair” while urging Israel to respond to the allegations. The report is hard-hitting and grim, exposing for the world the horrendous conditions wrought by the years of Israeli occupation. Following three years of blockade of an already weakened Gaza and responding to suicide bombings and other acts of terrorism inflicted on southern Israel, the Israeli Defense Force swiftly moved into Gaza in late 2008 and deliberately destroyed houses, industry and agricultural land. At least 1,400 Palestinians were killed, approximately 900 of which were civilians, 300 children and 100 women. The report asserts that Israel’s military operations were “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity…[and] force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.” The report also addresses the deliberate attacks against the civilian population, the use of Palestinians as “human shields,” internal violence by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and the suppression of dissent in Israel. Subsequently, the commentators—including Rashid Khalidi, Raji Sourani, Jerome Slater and Henry Siegman—discuss the report’s acknowledgement of the “prolonged state of impunity” by Israel and the implications for international law, while Brian Baird recounts the systematic condemnation of the report by the U.S. Congress.
An eye-opening document and an urgent call for accountability.