UN General Assembly to consider UN probe into Gaza conflict

The United Nations General Assembly will meet on November 4 to consider the report [PDF] of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. The Mission was appointed on April 3, 2009 “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.”

The four-person Mission presented its report [PDF] to the United Nations Human Rights Council on September 29, 2009. The report [PDF] concluded that both parties to the conflict likely committed war crimes during the fighting. The report has generated a great deal of discussion, controversy, and criticism.

The October 23 edition of Bill Moyers Journal featured an interview with Justice Richard Goldstone who served as the head of the Mission. Justice Goldstone came to prominence investigating the behavior of security forces during the apartheid regime in his native South Africa. He served as chief prosecutor of International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavian and Rwanda and has been part of investigations into Nazi war criminals hiding in Argentina and war crimes in Kosovo.

Moyers interviewed Justice Goldstone about “the report, his critics and why he believes international humanitarian law is an important part of the peace process.” View video and read the transcript of the interview.

Here are some other perspectives on the report:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been involved in mission efforts in the Middle East for nearly two centuries. The denomination’s long-standing witness in Israel and Palestine involves working with partners in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Since 1948, General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its predecessors have made statements calling for a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

General Assemblies have supported the work of the United Nations since 1946. Assemblies have seen the United Nations as a peacemaker, and a peace-builder, a forum for U.S. foreign policy making, and a guarantor of law and human rights in a troubled world. In addition, assemblies have consistently endorsed international law and supported human rights as they have proclaimed the life-giving vision of Jesus.

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