Goldstone Report: Reexamining 5 key findings

The controversial Goldstone Report, the result of a UN fact finding mission following allegations of human rights violations during the 2008 to 2009 Israel-Gaza conflict, is under scrutiny again. What findings makes this nonbinding UN report such a flashpoint?

Israel failed to protect Gazan civilians

In addition to charging Israel with targeting Palestinian civilians, the report also found that Israel failed to take adequate precautions to minimize the loss of civilian life and civilian infrastructure when attacking on noncivilian targets.

The report cited the firing of white phosphorous shells over the UN Relief and Works Agency compound in Gaza City as an example in paragraph 1,919. The use of white phosphorous itself was controversial but, according to the report, not a violation of international law like many claimed at the time. Its “use is, however, restricted or even prohibited in certain circumstances by virtue of the principles of proportionality and precautions necessary in the attack.”

The report also stated that Israel failed to take into account the proximity of civilians and civilian structures to military targets and did not give adequate warning to Palestinian civilians of impending attacks so that they could move to safety.

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