Goldstone: ‘Lack of accountability’ in Mideast

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A "culture of impunity" has existed for too long in the Middle East, Richard Goldstone told the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Goldstone, whose U.N. commission investigating Israel’s Gaza offensive recently released a report saying that Israel and Hamas committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, made his address Tuesday in Geneva.

"The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible war crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point," he said. "The ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."

Goldstone called on Israel and Hamas to hold open investigations into the events of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza last winter.

The former South African judge, who is Jewish, said the council should adopt his commission’s report and refer it to the U.N. Security Council for discussion and action.

Israel and some Jewish groups have dismissed the report as being biased.

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