Human Rights Watch: U.S. must back Goldstone
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Human Rights Watch: U.S. must back Goldstone

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Human Rights Watch called on the Obama administration to endorse the Goldstone Commission report.

The group was reacting to statements by administration officials that the report on last winter’s war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip was flawed and should be dealt with only by the U.N. Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report.

"Dismissal of all or parts of the Goldstone report would contradict President Barack Obama’s stated commitment to human rights in the Middle East and reveal an ill-timed double standard in Washington’s approach to international justice," the group said. "It would also undermine efforts to revive the peace process."

The conclusions of the fact-finding mission, led by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, include a recommendation that the U.N. Security Council consider war crimes investigations should Israel or Hamas not launch their own probes within six months.

Human Rights Watch also dismissed claims that Israel was able to investigate itself.

"The U.S. claim that Israel can be relied upon to investigate itself ignores the well-documented pattern of impunity in the country for past violations of international humanitarian law," the group said.

Israel regards Human Rights Watch as implacably biased; the group claims that it is the victim of a witch hunt aimed at obscuring Israel’s human rights violations.

Michael Posner, the assistant U.S. secretary of state for human rights, told the U.N. Human Rights Council on Tuesday that "Israel, as a democracy with a well-established commitment to rule of law, has the institutions and ability to carry out robust investigations into these allegations."

Posner reiterated the U.S. view that the report was "deeply flawed" and that the Human Rights Council pays "grossly disproportionate" attention to Israel.

He said the United States would back a resolution that "encourages Israel to investigate and address allegations in the report thoroughly through credible domestic processes."