Israel will not comply with a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigation into possible war crimes that were committed during recent fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to April 15 statements by Israeli government officials. The probe was originally approved by the UNHRC in January, which recently appointed South African judge Richard Goldstone to head the four member delegation in its fact-finding mission. An unidentified official said that a letter was sent to Goldstone last week, stating that Israel would not comply with the investigation because it doubted the mission’s objectivity. Israel also argued that investigation did not focus enough on Hamas hostilities prior to the Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip. Hamas has said that it will cooperate with the investigation.
The investigation drew criticism from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs earlier this month. The probe was a result of the report authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk that criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US condemned the report as biased. An internal Israeli military investigation found last week that war crimes had not been committed in the offensive despite individual reports by Israeli soldiers. (Jurist, April 16)