Ten NIF– and European government-funded Israeli NGOs – B’Tselem, Physicians for Human Rights, Gisha, Adalah, Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Yesh Din, Hamoked, Public Committee Against Torture, Bimkom, Rabbis for Human Rights – dismissed IDF investigations into the January 2009 fighting in Gaza, alleging “[t]he only way to investigate violations of human rights committed in Gaza is by establishing an external, extra-military investigation mechanism.” Specifically, these groups lobbied for Israeli cooperation with the UN investigation, led by Richard Goldstone.
The NGOs assert that “[i]f the military claims that there were no major deficiencies in its conduct in Gaza, it is not clear why Israel refuses to cooperate with the UN investigation team.” Yet, the key members of the “team” are signatories to a tendentious Amnesty International letter, reflecting their determination to condemn Israel for alleged “war crimes” violations and “rais[ing] serious ethical issues for investigators.” Also, although Goldstone claims he will investigate violations on “all sides,” the official mandate from the HRC limits the investigation to “all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people.”
Moreover, Goldstone is a member of HRW’s Board of Directors, and may be involved with setting the organization’s research and reporting agendas in Gaza. HRW has been a leader in disseminating false claims about Israel’s conduct during the fighting, as well as leveling pre-determined charges of “war crimes.” Given HRW’s role active at the HRC and with UN investigations, it is likely they will attempt to influence Goldstone’s team.
B’Tselem also independently rejected the IDF investigation as “based on…partial information [that] cannot reach an understanding of the truth,” since the IDF did not interview “Palestinian witnesses who were harmed by the military’s conduct” – and “welcome[d]” Goldstone’s investigation. However, given the inherent bias and the foundation for the Israeli concerns , there is good reason to expect that Goldstone’s conclusions will also be incomplete and unable to accurately assess Israeli actions.