Jurist to hold public hearings on Gaza operation

NEW YORK (JTA) — The head of a United Nations team investigating Israel’s military operation in Gaza will hold public hearings on the matter.

Judge Richard Goldstone, a Jewish South African and former international prosecutor, made the announcement Wednesday after a meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

"One decision we have taken is we will have a number of days of public hearings," Goldstone told reporters in Geneva. "If we can in the region, so much the better, and if necessary we will have them in Geneva."

Goldstone, who leads a four-person team appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council, said that Israel had not yet responded to its request to enter the country, but that he was prepared to enter Gaza through Egypt if necessary.

Israel historically has been reluctant to cooperate with U.N. probes, which they say often are charged with a biased mandate to investigate only allegations of Israeli crimes. Goldstone, who is a trustee of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, has said that he would investigate allegations against both sides.

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