Last week America told the world that the UN Gaza report was terribly unfair to Israel and should essentially be ignored.
This week, in yet another sign of Washington’s “seriousness” over Middle East peace, we have this:
The United States called on its close ally Israel on Tuesday to conduct credible investigations into allegations of war crimes committed by its forces in Gaza, saying it would help the Middle East peace process.
Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, said that Hamas leaders also had a responsibility to investigate crimes and to end what he called its targeting of civilians and use of Palestinian civilians as human shields in the strip.The UN Human Rights Council was holding a one-day debate on a recent report by Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist and former U.N. war crimes prosecutor.
His panel found the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian militants committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during their December-January war. Israel did not cooperate with the UN inquiry and has rejected the report as biased.
“We encourage Israel to utilize appropriate domestic [judicial] review and meaningful accountability mechanisms to investigate and follow-up on credible allegations,” Posner said in a speech to the Geneva forum.
“If undertaken properly and fairly, these reviews can serve as important confidence-building measures that will support the larger essential objective which is a shared quest for justice and lasting peace,” he said.
The United States joined the Council, set up three years ago, for the first time earlier this year. Posner reiterated Washington’s view that the Council paid “grossly disproportionate attention” to Israel, but said that the U.S. delegation was ready to engage in balanced debate.
Goldstone himself outlined the reasons why it’s vital the international community holds guilty parties to account:
Earlier, Goldstone said a lack of accountability for war crimes committed in the Middle East was undermining any hope for peace in the region.
“A culture of impunity in the region has existed for too long,” Goldstone, a former UN war crimes prosecutor, told the UN Human Rights Council.
“The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible war crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence.”