Although the UN initiated a Board of Inquiry into allegations of war crimes in Gaza, Dion Nissenbaum, Jerusalem Bureau Chief for McClatchy news company, says
”I’m not sure what impact this UN report is going to have.” He continues to explain, “I think the only thing that the Israeli government will look at is reports from Israeli soldiers. Israel has always been skeptical of the United Nations, the international press, and they are certainly skeptical of what comes out of the Palestinians.”
Stories from members of the Israeli forces came out recently and created a firestorm of discussion within Israel about accusations which had already been levelled by human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the international media and other NGO’s working in the area. These stories from the soldiers were given more credit than all the evidence presented from outside sources.
Sadly, these stories were discounted out of hand by investigators and the IDF investigation has been closed already saying the stories by the IDF members were based on ‘hearsay’.
So will there ever be justice for the victims of the human rights violations that took place during the Gaza crisis?
Amnesty Int’l has been calling for an independent, impartial international inquiry into human rights violations by all parties involved be undertaken from the beginning and has said that the UN inquiry is insufficient in that it only looks into attacks on UN personnel and facilities. Other human rights groups are also calling for an independent inquiry and look on the IDF’s eagerness to close the investigation into the IDF members’ stories as questionable:
“the speedy closing of the investigation immediately raises suspicions that [it] was merely the army’s attempt to wipe its hands of all blame for illegal activity…”
UPDATE (April 3, 12:10pm): The UN Human Rights Council announced today that the former chief prosecutor of two criminal tribunals, Richard J. Goldstone will lead a probe into allegations of war crimes committed during Gaza crisis between December 27th, 2008 and January 18th, 2009 by all parties involved. This investigation is separate from the UN Board of Inquiry created by the UN Security Council which was formed to look into specific attacks on UN personnel and facilities in Gaza.