Factsheet: The Goldstone Report on Gaza
February 17, 2011
- The Goldstone Report accused Israel of “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and deliberately targeting “the people of Gaza as a whole . . .in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas” (para. 1681, et. al.). It largely repeats unsourced and unverified NGO claims, including false casualty figures.
- Established by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on January 12, 2009 (Res. S-9/1) “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip.”
- Funded by the Arab League; supported by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Mission members: Richard Goldstone, Desmond Travers, Hina Jilani, and Christine Chinkin
- Goldstone continues to falsely claim that he was given a revised mandate by the UNHRC President and that the mission’s investigation was even-handed, addressing violations by both Israel and Hamas:
- “It is well known that initially I refused to become involved with what I considered to be a mandate that was unfair to Israel by concentrating only on war crimes alleged to have been committed by the Israel Defence Forces. When I was offered an even-handed mandate that included war crimes alleged to have been committed against Israel by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, my position changed.”
- The UNHRC never changed this mandate and the “36 incidents” (Annex 2) investigated by the mission only involve allegations against Israel. Not one incident relates to alleged Hamas war crimes.
- The UNHRC continues to refer to the original one-sided mandate in its resolutions and reports.
- Each of the mission members issued prejudicial statements against Israel regarding the Gaza War prior to their appointment by the HRC.
- Chinkin, in a joint statement to the Sunday Times (January 11, 2009), wrote that “Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence,” were “contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law,” and constituted “prima facie war crimes.
- The Mission members had close personal connections to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International prior to their appointment. These NGOs played central roles in creating the mission, shaping the report, and lobbying for acceptance.
- Goldstone was a board member of HRW until NGO Monitor pointed out the conflict of interest.
- Amnesty International provided the mission with the outline for the report, as well as a list of 36 incidents to investigate – none relating to Hamas war crimes.
- Goldstone worked closely with politicized NGOs including PCHR, Al Haq, Adalah, B’Tselem, PHR-I, PCATI, and the Alternative Information Center.
- Faulty methodology and failure to adhere to ethical and investigatory standards, including the UN rules for fact-finding missions and the Lund-London Guidelines by the International Bar Association.
- Goldstone report was widely criticized across the political spectrum for its “biased HRC mandate,” “the nature and confused conclusions reached,” “application of incorrect legal standards,” and “tentative” criticisms of Hamas.
- Judge Fausto Pocar, former President of the International Criminal Tribunal
for the Fomer Yugoslavia, criticized the Goldstone report for its one-sided and discriminatory call for universal jurisdiction solely against Israel officials.
- Since the report’s release, Goldstone has generally refused to debate his critics. He will only respond to pre-screened and vetted questions.