The failure of the United States and European Union governments to endorse the report of the Gaza fact-finding mission sends a message that serious laws-of-war violations will be treated with kid gloves when committed by an ally, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 29, 2009 Justice Richard Goldstone presented the mission’s report on the conflict in Gaza last December and January to the UN Human Rights Council.
Goldstone called on council members to endorse the report’s recommendations, including those designed to ensure accountability for serious violations of the laws of war during the Gaza conflict by involving the stature and clout of the UN Security Council. In opposing that key recommendation, the United States resorted to calling the report “unbalanced” and “deeply flawed,” but provided no real facts to support those assertions.
In fact, the report reflects a sober, careful assessment of the violations committed by both sides in the conflict, which closely corresponds to findings by Human Rights Watch and other independent groups. A statement read by the Swedish ambassador on behalf of the European Union recognized the seriousness of the report but also failed to endorse its conclusions or recommendations. EU countries on the council, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, remained silent about the report.
The lack of international action is precisely the reason why a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel is so essential.