I welcome the report of the UN mission led by Richard Goldstone, presented yesterday to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The 574 page report investigates the attacks by the Israel government on the people of Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. The attacks, which killed at least 1,400 people, were roundly
at the time by the Green Party.
- Israeli forces potentially committed war crimes when they launched attacks on civilians with no justifiable military objective.
- Israel has potentially committed the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, by denying Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, limiting their freedom of movement, and limiting their access to a court of law and an effective remedy.
- There have been serious human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial executions of Palestinians, by the authorities in Gaza and by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
- As a result of the attacks, Gaza inhabitants have suffered materially (because of the destruction of food supplies, water sanitation systems, and housing) as well as from immense trauma.
- Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity, in their repeated launching of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel.
The report recommends that the Security Council refer Israel to the International Criminal report if Israeli investigations and prosecutions are not carried out within six months.
This fits in with the
of the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Select Committee, of which I am a member, that
New Zealand should support the efforts of the UN Headquarters Board of Inquiry to seek accountability and reparations following attacks on UN facilities in Gaza. It should also support the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission, which is investigating violations of the rules of war in Gaza. We believe that any parties found to have been responsible for war crimes should be brought to justice under international law.
I welcome Judge Goldstone’s report, whose findings are consistent with a number of reports by major NGOs on the Gaza attacks. The Green Party will be pressing the government to support the report and push for its recommendations to be implemented.