Israel government to form task force to respond to UN Gaza report

[JURIST] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official profile] on Monday announced the formation of a task force to respond to the Goldstone Report [text, PDF], which accused both Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) [official website] and Hamas [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] fighters of war crimes during last winter's Operation Cast Lead [Global Security backgrounder]. The task force will be led [Haaretz report] by Justice Minister Ya'akov Ne'eman. The Israeli government has reportedly ruled out conducting an independent investigation into the report's allegations, and IDF soldiers and officials will not be brought before a commission of inquiry. The task force will report back on the report's ramifications and make recommendations for further action.

The formation of the task force comes two weeks after the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] passed a resolution officially endorsing [JURIST report] the final report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict [official website], which recommended that both Israel and Hamas conduct credible investigations into the alleged human rights violations taking place during the conflict or face referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. Israel condemned the UNHRC resolution, calling the report "one-sided" and urging the international community to reject the findings [JURIST report]. The IDF launched [JURIST report] an internal investigation into alleged misconduct in July. In April, an internal Israeli military investigation found that war crimes had not been committed [JURIST report] in the offensive despite individual reports by Israeli soldiers [Haaretz report].

 

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