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UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
Goldstone Report: Human Rights in Palestine
Conclusions and recommendations


Published 25 October 2009

The United Nations Human Rights Council had set up a mission of four experts mandated to investigate the facts in relation to the so-called “Cast Lead” operation, the Israeli offensive against the Gaza Strip (27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009). It was headed by the South African judge Richard Goldstone, a man already known for his impartial investigations into Human Rights violations in various countries. After several months of investigation, in Gaza and elsewhere, the mission submitted its report on 29 September 2009 to the UN Human Rights Council, which discussed it and adopted it with a large majority on October 16, before sending it on to the UN Security Council, which is to examine it this week.

At a time when the US Congress is preparing to vote on a joint Republican-Democrat motion asking Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to categorically reject the Goldstone Report, a document which the movers of this motion accuse of being "unilaterally against Israel" and of "ignoring thousands of rocket launches against Israel" (according to the press agency Guysen International News, item dated 25 October 2009), we think it useful to give our readers the chance to read in full - including paragraphs 1950 to 1956 - all the conclusions and recommendations proposed by this 575-page report.

ACDN


GE.09-15836
UNITED
NATIONS A
General Assembly Distr.
GENERAL
A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
24 September 2009
Original: ENGLISH

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Twelfth session Agenda item 7

HUMAN RIGHTS IN PALESTINE AND OTHER
OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES

Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

Conclusions and recommendations ∗

∗ The present document is an advance translation and contains only the conclusions and
recommendations of the Fact-Finding Mission. The full report will be issued as A/HRC/12/48 in
all languages according to translation capacity of the United Nations translation services.


A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 2

PART FIVE: CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

XXX. CONCLUSIONS

A. Concluding observations

1874. An objective assessment of the events it investigated and their causes and context is
crucial for the success of any effort to achieve justice for victims of violations and peace
and security in the region, and as such is in the interest of all concerned and affected by
this situation, including the parties to the continuing hostilities. It is in this spirit, and with
full appreciation of the complexity of its task, that the Mission received and implemented
its mandate.

1875. The international community as well as Israel and, to the extent determined by their
authority and means, Palestinian authorities, have the responsibility to protect victims of
violations and ensure that they do not continue to suffer the scourge of war or the
oppression and humiliations of occupation or indiscriminate rocket attacks. People of
Palestine have the right to freely determine their own political and economic system,
including the right to resist forcible deprivation of their right to self-determination and the
right to live, in peace and freedom, in their own State. The people of Israel have the right to
live in peace and security. Both peoples are entitled to justice in accordance with
international law.

1876. In carrying out its mandate, the Mission had regard, as its only guides, for general
international law, international human rights and humanitarian law, and the obligations
they place on States, the obligations they place on non-State actors and, above all, the
rights and entitlements they bestow on individuals. This in no way implies equating the
position of Israel as the occupying Power with that of the occupied Palestinian population
or entities representing it. The differences with regard to the power and capacity to inflict
harm or to protect, including by securing justice when violations occur, are obvious and a
comparison is neither possible nor necessary. What requires equal attention and effort,
however, is the protection of all victims in accordance with international law.

B. The Israeli military operations in Gaza: relevance to and links with Israel’s
policies vis-à-vis the Occupied Palestinian Territory

1877. The Mission is of the view that Israel’s military operation in Gaza between 27
December 2008 and 18 January 2009 and its impact cannot be understood or assessed in
isolation from developments prior and subsequent to it. The operation fits into a
continuum of policies aimed at pursuing Israel’s political objectives with regard to Gaza
and the Occupied Palestinian Territory as a whole. Many such policies are based on or
result in violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Military
objectives as stated by the Government of Israel do not explain the facts ascertained by the
Mission, nor are they congruous with the patterns identified by the Mission during the
investigation.

1878. The continuum is evident most immediately with the policy of blockade that
preceded the operations and that in the Mission’s view amounts to collective punishment

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 3

intentionally inflicted by the Government of Israel on the people of the Gaza Strip. When
the operations began, the Gaza Strip had been under a severe regime of closures and
restrictions on the movement of people, goods and services for almost three years. This
included basic necessities of life, such as food and medical supplies, and products required
for the conduct of daily life, such as fuel, electricity, school items, and repair and
construction material. These measures were imposed by Israel purportedly to isolate and
weaken Hamas after its electoral victory in view of the perceived continuing threat to
Israel’s security that it represented. Their effect was compounded by the withholding of
financial and other assistance by some donors on similar grounds. Adding hardship to the
already difficult situation in the Gaza Strip, the effects of the prolonged blockade did not
spare any aspect of the life of Gazans. Prior to the military operation, the Gaza economy
had been depleted, the health sector beleaguered, the population had been made dependent
on humanitarian assistance for survival and the conduct of daily life. Men, women and
children were psychologically suffering from long-standing poverty, insecurity and
violence, and enforced confinement in a heavily overcrowded territory. The dignity of the
people of Gaza had been severely eroded. This was the situation in the Gaza Strip when the
Israeli armed forces launched their offensive in December 2008. The military operations
and the manner in which they were conducted considerably exacerbated the
aforementioned effects of the blockade. The result, in a very short time, was unprecedented
long-term damage both to the people and to their development and recovery prospects.

1879. An analysis of the modalities and impact of the December-January military
operations also sets them, in the Mission’s view, in a continuum with a number of other
pre-existing Israeli policies with regard to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The
progressive isolation and separation of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, a policy that
began much earlier and which was consolidated in particular with the imposition of tight
closures, restrictions on movement and eventually the blockade, are among the most
apparent. Several measures adopted by Israel in the West Bank during and following the
military operations in Gaza also further deepen Israel’s control over the West Bank,
including East Jerusalem, and point to a convergence of objectives with the Gaza military
operations. Such measures include increased land expropriation, house demolitions,
demolition orders and permits to build homes in settlements, greater and more formalized
access and movement restrictions on Palestinians, new and stricter procedures for
residents of the Gaza Strip to change their residency to the West Bank. Systematic efforts
to hinder and control Palestinian self-determined democratic processes, not least through
the detention of elected political representatives and members of Government and the
punishment of the Gaza population for its perceived support for Hamas, culminated in the
attacks on government buildings during the Gaza offensive, most prominently the
Palestinian Legislative Council. The cumulative impact of these policies and actions make
prospects for political and economic integration between Gaza and the West Bank more
remote.

C. Nature, objectives and targets of the Israeli military operations in Gaza

1880. Both Palestinians and Israelis whom the Mission met repeatedly stressed that the
military operations carried out by Israel in Gaza from 27 December 2008 until 18 January
2009 were qualitatively different from any previous military action by Israel in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory. Despite the hard conditions that have long been prevailing

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 4

in the Gaza Strip, victims and long-time observers stated that the operations were
unprecedented in their severity and that their consequences would be long-lasting.

1881. When the Mission conducted its first visit to the Gaza Strip in early June 2009,
almost five months had passed since the end of the Israeli military operations. The
devastating effects of the operations on the population were, however, unequivocally
manifest. In addition to the visible destruction of houses, factories, wells, schools, hospitals,
police stations and other public buildings, the sight of families, including the elderly and
children, still living amid the rubble of their former dwellings - no reconstruction possible
due to the continuing blockade - was evidence of the protracted impact of the operations
on the living conditions of the Gaza population. Reports of the trauma suffered during the
attacks, the stress due to the uncertainty about the future, the hardship of life and the fear
of further attacks, pointed to less tangible but not less real long-term effects.

1882. Women were affected in significant ways. Their situation must be given specific
attention in any effort to address the consequences of the blockade, of the continuing
occupation and of the latest Israeli military operations.

1883. The Gaza military operations were, according to the Israeli Government, thoroughly
and extensively planned. While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations
as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self-defence, the
Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the
people of Gaza as a whole.

1884. In this respect, the operations were in furtherance of an overall policy aimed at
punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas,
and possibly with the intent of forcing a change in such support. The Mission considers this
position to be firmly based in fact, bearing in mind what it saw and heard on the ground,
what it read in the accounts of soldiers who served in the campaign, and what it heard and
read from current and former military officers and political leaders whom the Mission
considers to be representative of the thinking that informed the policy and strategy of the
military operations.

1885. The Mission recognizes that the principal focus in the aftermath of military
operations will often be on the people who have been killed - more than 1,400 in just three
weeks. This is rightly so. Part of the functions of reports such as this is to attempt, albeit in
a very small way, to restore the dignity of those whose rights have been violated in the most
fundamental way of all - the arbitrary deprivation of life. It is important that the
international community asserts formally and unequivocally that such violence to the most
basic fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals should not be overlooked and should
be condemned.

1886. In this respect, the Mission recognizes that not all deaths constitute violations of
international humanitarian law. The principle of proportionality acknowledges that, under
certain strict conditions, actions resulting in the loss of civilian life may not be unlawful.
What makes the application and assessment of proportionality difficult in respect of many
of the events investigated by the Mission is that deeds by the Israeli armed forces and
words of military and political leaders prior to and during the operations indicate that, as a

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 5

whole, they were premised on a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed not at the
enemy but at the “supporting infrastructure.” In practice, this appears to have meant the
civilian population.

1887. The timing of the first Israeli attack, at 11.30 a.m. on a weekday, when children were
returning from school and the streets of Gaza were crowded with people going about their
daily business, appears to have been calculated to create the greatest disruption and
widespread panic among the civilian population. The treatment of many civilians detained
or even killed while trying to surrender is one manifestation of the way in which the
effective rules of engagement, standard operating procedures and instructions to the troops
on the ground appear to have been framed in order to create an environment in which due
regard for civilian lives and basic human dignity was replaced with disregard for basic
international humanitarian law and human rights norms.

1888. The Mission recognizes fully that the Israeli armed forces, like any army attempting
to act within the parameters of international law, must avoid taking undue risks with their
soldiers’ lives, but neither can they transfer that risk onto the lives of civilian men, women
and children. The fundamental principles of distinction and proportionality apply on the
battlefield, whether that battlefield is a built-up urban area or an open field.

1889. The repeated failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians appears to the
Mission to have been the result of deliberate guidance issued to soldiers, as described by
some of them, and not the result of occasional lapses.

1890. The Mission recognizes that some of those killed were combatants directly engaged
in hostilities against Israel, but many were not. The outcome and the modalities of the
operations indicate, in the Mission’s view, that they were only partially aimed at killing
leaders and members of Hamas, al-Qassam Brigades and other armed groups. They were
also to a large degree aimed at destroying or incapacitating civilian property and the
means of subsistence of the civilian population.

1891. It is clear from evidence gathered by the Mission that the destruction of food supply
installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the
result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces. It was not carried
out because those objects presented a military threat or opportunity, but to make the daily
process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population.

1892. Allied to the systematic destruction of the economic capacity of the Gaza Strip, there
appears also to have been an assault on the dignity of the people. This was seen not only in
the use of human shields and unlawful detentions sometimes in unacceptable conditions,
but also in the vandalizing of houses when occupied and the way in which people were
treated when their houses were entered. The graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often
racist slogans, all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanization of the
Palestinian population.

1893. The operations were carefully planned in all their phases. Legal opinions and advice
were given throughout the planning stages and at certain operational levels during the
campaign. There were almost no mistakes made according to the Government of Israel. It

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 6

is in these circumstances that the Mission concludes that what occurred in just over three
weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate
attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish
its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an
ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.

1894. The Mission has noted with concern public statements by Israeli officials, including
senior military officials, to the effect that the use of disproportionate force, attacks on
civilian population and the destruction of civilian property are legitimate means to achieve
Israel’s military and political objectives. The Mission believes that such statements not only
undermine the entire regime of international law, they are inconsistent with the spirit of
the Charter of the United Nations and, therefore, deserve to be categorically denounced.

1895. Whatever violations of international humanitarian and human rights law may have
been committed, the systematic and deliberate nature of the activities described in this
report leave the Mission in no doubt that responsibility lies in the first place with those who
designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.

D. Occupation, resilience and civil society

1896. The accounts of more severe violence during the recent military operations did not
obscure the fact that the concept of “normalcy” in the Gaza Strip has long been redefined
owing to the protracted situation of abuse and lack of protection deriving from the
decades-long occupation.

1897. As the Mission focused on investigating and analysing the specific matters within its
mandate, Israel’s continuing occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank emerged as
the fundamental factor underlying violations of international humanitarian and human
rights law against the protected population and undermining prospects for development
and peace. Israel’s failure to acknowledge and exercise its responsibilities as the occupying
Power further exacerbated the effects of occupation on the Palestinian people, and continue
to do so. Furthermore, the harsh and unlawful practices of occupation, far from quelling
resistance, breed it, including its violent manifestations. The Mission is of the view that
ending occupation is a prerequisite for the return of a dignified life for Palestinians, as well
as development and a peaceful solution to the conflict.

1898. The Mission was struck by the resilience and dignity shown by people in the face of
dire circumstances. UNRWA Director of Operations, John Ging, relayed to the Mission the
answer of a Gaza teacher during a discussion after the end of the Israeli military
operations about strengthening human rights education in schools. Rather than expressing
scepticism at the relevance of teaching human rights in a context of renewed denial of
rights, the teacher unhesitantly supported the resumption of human rights education:
“This is a war of values, and we are not going to lose it”.

1899. The assiduous work of Palestinian non-governmental and civil society organizations
in providing support to the population in such extreme circumstances, and in giving voice
to the suffering and expectations of victims of violations deserves to be fully acknowledged.
Their role in helping to sustain the resilience and dignity of the population cannot be

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 7

overstated. The Mission heard many accounts of NGO workers, doctors, ambulance
drivers, journalists, human rights monitors, who, at the height of the military operations,
risked their lives to be of service to people in need. They frequently relayed the anxiety of
having to choose between remaining close to their own families or continuing to work to
assist others in need, thereby often being cut off from news about the safety or whereabouts
of family members. The Mission wishes to pay tribute to the courage and work of the
numerous individuals who so contributed to alleviating the suffering of the population and
to report on the events in Gaza.

E. Rocket and mortar attacks in Israel

1900. Palestinian armed groups have launched thousands of rockets and mortars into
Israel since April 2001. These have succeeded in causing terror within Israel’s civilian
population, as evidenced by the high rates of psychological trauma within the affected
communities. The attacks have also led to an erosion of the social, cultural and economic
lives of the communities in southern Israel, and have affected the rights to education of the
tens of thousands of children and young adults who attend classes in the affected areas.

1901. Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, these attacks left four people dead
and hundreds injured. That there have not been more casualties is due to a combination of
luck and measures taken by the Israeli Government, including the fortification of public
buildings, the construction of shelters and, in times of escalated hostilities, the closure of
schools.

1902. The Mission notes, with concern, that Israel has not provided the same level of
protection from rockets and mortars to affected Palestinian citizens as it has to Jewish
citizens. In particular, it has failed to provide public shelters or fortification of schools, for
example, to the Palestinian communities living in the unrecognized villages and some of the
recognized villages. It ought to go without saying that the thousands of Palestinian Israelis-
including a significant number of children - who live within the range of rocket fire,
deserve the same protection as the Israeli Government provides to its Jewish citizens.

F. Dissenting voices in Israel

1903. While the Israeli military offensive in Gaza was widely supported by the Israeli
public, there were also dissenting voices, which expressed themselves through
demonstrations, protests, as well as public reporting on Israel’s conduct. The Mission is of
the view that actions of the Israeli Government during and following the military
operations in the Gaza Strip, including interrogation of political activists, repression of
criticism and sources of potential criticism of Israeli military actions, in particular NGOs,
have contributed significantly to a political climate in which dissent with the Government
and its actions in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is not tolerated. The denial of media
access to Gaza and the continuing denial of access to human rights monitors are, in the
Mission’s view, an attempt both to remove the Government’s actions in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory from public scrutiny and to impede investigations and reporting of
the conduct of the parties to the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 8

1904. In this context of increased intolerance for dissenting opinions in Israel, the Mission
wishes to acknowledge the difficult work of NGOs in Israel, which courageously continue
to express criticism of Government action that violates international human rights and
humanitarian law. The work of these organizations is essential not only to ensure
independent information to the Israeli and international public, but also to encourage a
facts-based debate about these issues within Israeli society.

G. The impact of dehumanization

1905. As in many conflicts, one of the features of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is the
dehumanization of the other, and of victims in particular. Palestinian psychiatrist Dr. Iyad
al-Sarraj explained the cycle of aggression and victimization through which “the
Palestinian in the eyes of the Israeli soldier is not an equal human being. Sometimes [...]
even becomes a demon [...]” This “culture of demonization and dehumanization” adds to a
state of paranoia. “Paranoia has two sides, the side of victimization, I am a victim of this
world, the whole world is against me and on the other side, I am superior to this world and
I can oppress it. This leads to what is called the arrogance of power.” As Palestinians, “we
look in general to the Israelis as demons and that we can hate them, that what we do is a
reaction, and we say that the Israelis can only understand the language of power. The same
thing that we say about the Israelis they say about us, that we only understand the
language of violence or force. There we see the arrogance of power and [the Israeli] uses it
without thinking of humanity at all. In my view we are seeing not only a state of war but
also a state that is cultural and psychological and I hope, I wish that the Israelis would
start, and there are many, many Jews in the world and in Israel that look into themselves,
have an insight that would make them, alleviate the fear that they have because there’s a
state of fear in Israel, in spite of all the power, and that they would start to walk on the
road of dealing with the consequences of their own victimization and to start dealing with
the Palestinian as a human being, a full human being who’s equal in rights with the Israeli
and also the other way around, the Palestinian must deal with himself, must respect himself
and respect his own differences in order to be able to stand before the Israeli also as a full
human being with equal rights and obligations. This is the real road for justice and for
peace.”

1906. Israeli college teacher Ofer Shinar offered a similar analysis: “Israeli society’s
problem is that, because of the conflict, Israeli society feels itself to be a victim and to a
large extent that’s justified and it’s very difficult for Israeli society to move and to feel that
it can also see the other side and to understand that the other side is also a victim. This I
think is the greatest tragedy of the conflict and it’s terribly difficult to overcome it [...] I
think that the initiative that you’ve taken in listening to [...] people [...] is very important.
The message that you’re giving Israeli society is absolutely unambiguous that you are
impartial that you should be able to see that the feeling of being a victim is something that
characterizes both sides. What requires you to take this responsibility is the fact that you
have to understand how difficult it is to get this message through to Israeli society, how
closed the Israeli society is, how difficult it is for Israeli society to understand that the other
side is not just the party which is infringing our own human rights, but how they are
having their human rights infringed, how they are suffering as well.”

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 9

1907. The Mission, in fulfilling its mandate to investigate alleged violations of international
law that occurred in the context of the December 2008 - January 2009 military operations
in Gaza, spoke predominantly to those most affected by the most recent events in a conflict
that has spanned decades. As may be expected, the Mission found societies scarred by
living in conflict with significant psychological trauma stemming from a life that may
rightly seem to those living in more peaceful countries to be unbearable.

1908. Both the Palestinians and the Israelis are legitimately angered at the lives that they
are forced to lead. For the Palestinians, the anger about individual events - the civilian
casualties, injuries and destruction in Gaza following from military attacks, the blockade,
the continued construction of the Wall outside of the 1967 borders - feed into an
underlying anger about the continuing Israeli occupation, its daily humiliations and their
as-yet-unfulfilled right to self-determination. For the Israelis, the public statements of
Palestinian armed groups celebrating rocket and mortar attacks on civilians strengthen a
deep-rooted concern that negotiation will yield little and that their nation remains under
existential threat from which only it can protect its people. In this way, both the Israelis
and the Palestinians share a secret fear - for some, a belief - that each has no intention of
accepting the other’s right to a country of their own. This anger and fear are unfortunately
ably represented by many politicians.

1909. Some Israelis pointed out to the Mission that policies of the Israeli Government
relating to the isolation of the Gaza Strip and the tighter restrictions on the movement of
Palestinians within the Occupied Palestinian Territory and between the Occupied
Palestinian Territory and Israel, have contributed to increasing the distance between
Palestinians and Israelis, reducing the opportunities to interact other than in situations of
control and coercion such as checkpoints and military posts.

1910. In this context, the Mission was encouraged by reports of exchange and cooperation
between Palestinians and Israelis, for example with regard to mental health specialists
working with Palestinians from Gaza and southern Israel’s communities, and with regard
to cooperation between Magen David Adom and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society,
especially in the West Bank, as they fulfil a shared commitment to providing humanitarian
assistance to the communities in which they work, regardless of the ethnicity of the patient
who lies before them.

H. The intra-Palestinian situation

1911. The division and violence between Fatah and Hamas, which culminated in the
establishment of parallel governance entities and structures in the Gaza Strip and the West
Bank, is having adverse consequences for the human rights of the Palestinian population in
both areas, as well as contributing to erode the rule of law in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory in addition to the threats already linked to foreign occupation. Even with the
narrow focus of the Mission on violations relevant to the context of the December-January
military operations, the diminishing protections for Palestinians are evident from the cases
of arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary detention of political activists or sympathizers,
limitations on freedom of expression and association, and abuses by security forces. The
situation is compounded by the ever reducing role of the judiciary in ensuring the rule of
law and legal remedies for violations. A resolution of the internal divisions based on the

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 10

free will and decisions of Palestinians and without external interference would strengthen
the ability of Palestinian authorities and institutions to protect the rights of the people
under their responsibility.

I. The need for protection and the role of the international community

1912. International law sets obligations on States not only to respect but also to ensure
respect for international humanitarian law. The International Court of Justice stated in its
Advisory Opinion on the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory that “all States parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to
the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949 have in addition the
obligation, while respecting the United Nations Charter and international law, to ensure
compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law as embodied in that
Convention".

1913. The 2005 World Summit Outcome document recognized that the international
community, through the United Nations, also has the responsibility to use appropriate
diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, in accordance with Chapters VI and
VIII of the Charter, to help protect populations from, inter alia, war crimes and crimes
against humanity. The document stressed that the Members of the United Nations are
prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security
Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII should peaceful means be
inadequate and national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations from
genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. In 2009, the
Secretary-General, in his report on implementing the responsibility to protect, noted that
the enumeration of these crimes did not “detract in any way from the much broader range
of obligations existing under international humanitarian law, international human rights
law, refugee law and international criminal law.”

1914. After decades of sustained conflict, the level of threat to which both Palestinians and
Israelis are subjected has not abated, but if anything increased with continued escalations
of violence, death and suffering for the civilian population, of which the December-January
military operations in Gaza are only the most recent occurrence. Israel is therefore also
failing to protect its own citizens by refusing to acknowledge the futility of resorting to
violent means and military power.

1915. Israeli incursions and military actions in the Gaza Strip did not stop after the end of
the military operations of December - January.

1916. The Security Council has placed the protection of civilian populations on its agenda
as a regular item, recognizing it as a matter falling within its responsibility. The Mission
notes that the international community has been largely silent and has to date failed to act
to ensure the protection of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and generally the
Occupied Palestinian Territory. Suffice it to notice the lack of adequate reaction to the
blockade and its consequences, to the Gaza military operations and, in their aftermath, to
the continuing obstacles to reconstruction. The Mission also considers that the isolation of
the Gaza authorities and the sanctions against the Gaza Strip have had a negative impact
on the protection of the population. Immediate action to enable reconstruction in Gaza is

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page 11

no doubt required. However, it also needs to be accompanied by a firmer and principled
stance by the international community on violations of international humanitarian and
human rights law and long delayed action to end them. Protection of civilian populations
requires respect for international law and accountability for violations. When the
international community does not live up to its own legal standards, the threat to the
international rule of law is obvious and potentially far-reaching in its consequences.

1917. The Mission acknowledges and emphasizes the impressive and essential role played
by the staff of the numerous United Nations agencies and bodies working to assist the
population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory in all aspects of daily life. An additional
disturbing feature of the December-January military operations was the disregard in
several incidents, some of which are documented in this report, for the inviolability of
United Nations premises, facilities and staff. It ought to go without saying that attacks on
the United Nations are unacceptable and undermine its ability to fulfil its protection and
assistance role vis-à-vis a population that so badly needs it.

J. Summary of legal findings

1918. Detailed legal findings by the Mission are included in each of the chapters of the
report where specific facts and events are analysed. The following is a summary of those
findings.

1. Actions by Israel in Gaza in the context of the military operations
of 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009

(a) Precautions in launching attacks

1919. The Mission finds that in a number of cases Israel failed to take feasible precautions
required by customary law reflected in article 57 (2) (a) (ii) of Additional Protocol I to
avoid or minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian
objects. The firing of white phosphorus shells over the UNRWA compound in Gaza City is
one of such cases in which precautions were not taken in the choice of weapons and
methods in the attack, and these facts were compounded by reckless disregard for the
consequences. The intentional strike at al-Quds hospital using high-explosive artillery
shells and white phosphorous in and around the hospital also violated articles 18 and 19 of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. With regard to the attack against al-Wafa hospital, the
Mission found a violation of the same provisions, as well as a violation of the customary law
prohibition against attacks which may be expected to cause excessive damage to civilians
and civilian objects.

1920. The Mission finds that the different kinds of warnings issued by Israel in Gaza
cannot be considered as sufficiently effective in the circumstances to comply with
customary law as reflected in Additional Protocol I, article 57 (2) (c). While some of the
leaflet warnings were specific in nature, the Mission does not consider that general
messages telling people to leave wherever they were and go to city centres, in the particular
circumstances of the military campaign, meet the threshold of effectiveness. Firing missiles
into or on top of buildings as a “warning” is essentially a dangerous practice and a form of
attack rather than a warning.

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(b) Incidents involving the killing of civilians

1921. The Mission found numerous instances of deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian
objects (individuals, whole families, houses, mosques) in violation of the fundamental
international humanitarian law principle of distinction, resulting in deaths and serious
injuries. In these cases the Mission found that the protected status of civilians was not
respected and the attacks were intentional, in clear violation of customary law reflected in
article 51 (2) and 75 of Additional Protocol I, article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention
and articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In some
cases the Mission additionally concluded that the attack was also launched with the
intention of spreading terror among the civilian population. Moreover, in several of the
incidents investigated, the Israeli armed forces not only did not use their best efforts to
permit humanitarian organizations access to the wounded and medical relief, as required
by customary international law reflected in article 10 (2) of Additional Protocol I, but they
arbitrarily withheld such access.

1922. With regard to one incident investigated, involving the death of at least 35
Palestinians, the Mission finds that the Israeli armed forces launched an attack which a
reasonable commander would have expected to cause excessive loss of civilian life in
relation to the military advantage sought, in violation of customary international
humanitarian law as reflected in Additional Protocol I, articles 57 (2) (a) (ii) and (iii). The
Mission finds a violation of the right to life (ICCPR, article 6) of the civilians killed in this
incident.

1923. The Mission also concludes that Israel, by deliberately attacking police stations and
killing large numbers of policemen (99 in the incidents investigated by the Mission) during
the first minutes of the military operations, failed to respect the principle of proportionality
between the military advantage anticipated by killing some policemen who might have
been members of Palestinian armed groups and the loss of civilian life (the majority of
policemen and members of the public present in the police stations or nearby during the
attack). Therefore, these were disproportionate attacks in violation of customary
international law. The Mission finds a violation of the right to life (ICCPR, article 6) of the
policemen killed in these attacks who were not members of Palestinian armed groups.

(c) Certain weapons used by the Israeli armed forces

1924. In relation to the weapons used by the Israeli armed forces during military
operations, the Mission accepts that white phosphorous, flechettes and heavy metal (such
as tungsten) are not currently proscribed under international law. Their use is, however,
restricted or even prohibited in certain circumstances by virtue of the principles of
proportionality and precautions necessary in the attack. Flechettes, as an area weapon, are
particularly unsuitable for use in urban settings, while, in the Mission’s view, the use of
white phosphorous as an obscurant at least should be banned because of the number and
variety of hazards that attach to the use of such a pyrophoric chemical.

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(d) Treatment of Palestinians in the hands of the Israeli armed forces

(i) Use of human shields

1925. The Mission investigated several incidents in which the Israeli armed forces used
local Palestinian residents to enter houses which might be booby-trapped or harbour
enemy combatants (this practice, known in the West Bank as “neighbour procedure”, was
called “Johnnie procedure” during the military operations in Gaza). The Mission found
that the practice constitutes the use of human shields prohibited by international
humanitarian law. It further constitutes a violation of the right to life, protected in article 6
of ICCPR, and of the prohibition against cruel and inhuman treatment in its article 7.

1926. The questioning of Palestinian civilians under threat of death or injury to extract
information about Hamas and Palestinian combatants and tunnels constitutes a violation of
article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits physical or moral coercion
against protected persons.

(ii) Detention

1927. The Mission found that the Israeli armed forces in Gaza rounded up and detained
large groups of persons protected under the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Mission finds
that their detention cannot be justified either as detention of “unlawful combatants” or as
internment of civilians for imperative reasons of security. The Mission considers that the
severe beatings, constant humiliating and degrading treatment and detention in foul
conditions allegedly suffered by individuals in the Gaza Strip under the control of the
Israeli armed forces and in detention in Israel, constitute a failure to treat protected
persons humanely in violation of article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as well as
violations of articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
regarding torture and the treatment of persons in detention, and of its article 14 with
regard to due process guarantees. The treatment of women during detention was contrary
to the special respect for women required under customary law as reflected in the article 76
of Additional Protocol I. The Mission finds that the rounding-up of large groups of civilians
and their prolonged detention under the circumstances described in this report constitute a
collective penalty on those persons in violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention and article 50 of the Hague Regulations. Such treatment amounts to measures
of intimidation or terror prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

(e) Destruction of property

1928. The Mission finds that the attacks against the Palestinian Legislative Council
building and the main prison in Gaza constituted deliberate attacks on civilian objects in
violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law whereby attacks must be
strictly limited to military objectives.

1929. The Mission also finds that the Israeli armed forces unlawfully and wantonly
attacked and destroyed without military necessity a number of food production or foodprocessing
objects and facilities (including mills, land and greenhouses), drinking-water
installations, farms and animals in violation of the principle of distinction. From the facts

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ascertained by it, the Mission finds that this destruction was carried out with the purpose
of denying sustenance to the civilian population, in violation of customary law reflected in
article 54 (2) of the First Additional Protocol. The Mission further concludes that the
Israeli armed forces carried out widespread destruction of private residential houses, water
wells and water tanks unlawfully and wantonly.

1930. In addition to being violations of international humanitarian law, these extensive
wanton acts of destruction amount to violations of Israel’s duties to respect the right to an
adequate standard of living of the people in the Gaza Strip, which includes the rights to
food, water and housing, as well as the right to the highest attainable standard of health,
protected under articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights.

(f) Impact of the blockade and the military operations on the Gaza population

1931. The Mission concludes that the blockade policies implemented by Israel against the
Gaza Strip, in particular the closure of or restrictions imposed on border crossings in the
immediate period before the military operations, subjected the local population to extreme
hardship and deprivations that amounted to a violation of Israel’s obligations as an
occupying Power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. These measures led to a severe
deterioration and regression in the levels of realization of economic and social rights of
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and weakened its social and economic fabric, leaving health,
education, sanitation and other essential services in a very vulnerable position to cope with
the immediate effects of the military operations.

1932. The Mission finds that, despite the information circulated by Israel about the
humanitarian relief schemes in place during the military operations, Israel has essentially
violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital
objects, food and clothing that were needed to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the
civilian population in the context of the military operations, which is in violation of article
23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

1933. In addition to the above general findings, the Mission also considers that Israel has
violated its specific obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including
the rights to peace and security, free movement, livelihood and health.

1934. The Mission concludes that the conditions resulting from deliberate actions of the
Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Government with regard to the Gaza
Strip before, during and after the military operation cumulatively indicate the intention to
inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip. The Mission, therefore, finds
a violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

(g) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and acts raising individual criminal
responsibility under international criminal law

1935. From the facts gathered, the Mission found that the following grave breaches of the
Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by the Israeli armed forces in Gaza: wilful

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killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to
body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity
and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. As grave breaches these acts give rise to
individual criminal responsibility. The Mission notes that the use of human shields also
constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

1936. The Mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the
Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their
freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their
rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find
that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.

2. Actions by Israel in the West Bank in the context of the military operations
in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009

(a) Treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank by Israeli security forces, including use
of excessive or lethal force during demonstrations

1937. With regard to acts of violence by settlers against Palestinians, the Mission concludes
that Israel has failed to fulfil its international obligations to protect the Palestinians from
violence by private individuals under both international human rights law and
international humanitarian law. In some instances security forces acquiesced to the acts of
violence in violation of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
When this acquiescence occurs only in respect of violence against Palestinians by settlers
and not vice versa, it would amount to discrimination on the basis of national origin,
prohibited under ICCPR.

1938. Israel also violated a series of human rights by unlawfully repressing peaceful public
demonstrations and using excessive force against demonstrators. The use of firearms,
including live ammunitions, and the use of snipers resulting in the death of demonstrators
are a violation of article 6 of ICCPR as an arbitrary deprivation of life and, in the
circumstances examined by the Mission, appear to indicate an intention or at least a
recklessness towards causing harm to civilians which may amount to wilful killing.

1939. Excessive use of force that resulted in injury rather than death constitutes violations
of a number of standards, including articles 7 and 9 of ICCPR. These violations are
compounded by the seemingly discriminatory “open fire regulations” for security forces
dealing with demonstrations, based on the presence of persons with a particular
nationality, violating the principle of non-discrimination in ICCPR (art. 2) as well as under
article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

1940. The Mission finds that Israel failed to investigate, and when appropriate prosecute,
acts by its agents or by third parties involving serious violations of international
humanitarian law and human rights law.
1941. The Mission was alarmed at the reported increase in settler violence in the past year
and the failure of the Israeli security forces to prevent settlers’ attacks against Palestinian
civilians and their property. These are accompanied by a series of violations by Israeli

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forces or acquiesced by them, including the removal of residential status from Palestinians,
which could eventually lead to a situation of virtual deportation and entail additional
violations of other rights.

(b) Detention of Palestinians by Israel

1942. The Mission analysed information it received on the detention of Palestinians in
Israeli prisons during or in the context of the military operations of December 2008-
January 2009 and found those practices generally inconsistent with human rights and
international humanitarian law. The military court system to which Palestinians from the
Occupied Palestinian Territory are subjected deprives them of due process guarantees in
keeping with international law.

1943. The Mission finds that the detention of members of the Palestinian Legislative
Council by Israel violates the right not to be arbitrarily detained, as protected by article 9
of ICCPR. Insofar as it is based on political affiliation and prevents those members from
participating in the conduct of public affairs, it is also in violation of its articles 25
recognizing the right to take part in public affairs and 26, which provides for the right to
equal protection under the law. Insofar as their detention is unrelated to their individual
behaviour, it constitutes collective punishment, prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention. Information on the detention of large numbers of children and their
treatment by Israeli security forces point to violations of their rights under ICCPR and the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.

(c) Violations of the right to free movement and access

1944. The Mission finds that the extensive restrictions imposed by Israel on the movement
and access of Palestinians in the West Bank are disproportionate to any legitimate
objective served and in violation of article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and article
12 of ICCPR, guaranteeing freedom of movement.

1945. Where checkpoints become a site of humiliation of the protected population by
military or civilian operators, this may entail a violation of the customary law rule reflected
in article 75 (2) (b) of Additional Protocol I.

1946. The continued construction of settlements in occupied territory constitutes a
violation of article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The extensive destruction and
appropriation of property, including land confiscation and house demolitions in the West
Bank, including East Jerusalem, not justified by military necessity and carried out
unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach under article 147 of the Fourth
Geneva Convention.

1947. Insofar as movement and access restrictions, the settlements and their
infrastructure, demographic policies vis-à-vis Jerusalem and “Area C” of the West Bank,
as well as the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, prevent a viable, contiguous and
sovereign Palestinian State from arising, they are in violation of the jus cogens right to selfdetermination.

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3. Actions by Israel in Israel

1948. In relation to alleged violations within Israel, the Mission concludes that, although
there does not appear to be a policy in this respect, there were occasions when reportedly
the authorities placed obstacles in the way of protesters seeking to exercise their right to
peaceful assembly and freedom of speech to criticize Israel’s military actions in the Gaza
Strip. These rights are protected by the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights. Instances of physical violence against protesters and other humiliations, not rising
to the level of physical violence, of the protesters by the police violated Israel’s obligations
under article 10 of the Covenant. The Mission is also concerned about activists being
compelled to attend interviews with the General Security Services (Shabak), which
reportedly creates an atmosphere intolerant of dissent within Israel. Hostile retaliatory
actions against civil society organizations by the Government of Israel for criticisms of the
Israeli authorities and for exposing alleged violations of international human rights law
and international humanitarian law during the military operations are inconsistent with
the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of
Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms.

1949. The Mission finds that the imposition of a near blanket exclusion of the media and
human rights monitors from Gaza since 5 November 2008 and throughout the operations is
inconsistent with Israel’s obligations with regard to the right to access to information.

4. Actions by Palestinian armed groups

1950. In relation to the firing of rockets and mortars into southern Israel by Palestinian
armed groups operating in the Gaza Strip, the Mission finds that the Palestinian armed
groups fail to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population and civilian
objects in southern Israel. The launching of rockets and mortars which cannot be aimed
with sufficient precisions at military targets breaches the fundamental principle of
distinction. Where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are
launched into civilian areas, they constitute a deliberate attack against the civilian
population. These actions would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against
humanity.

1951. The Mission concludes that the rocket and mortars attacks, launched by Palestinian
armed groups operating from Gaza, have caused terror in the affected communities of
southern Israel. The attacks have caused loss of life and physical and mental injury to
civilians as well as damaging private houses, religious buildings and property, and eroded
the economic and cultural life of the affected communities and severely affected economic
and social rights of the population.

1952. With regard to the continuing detention of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, the Mission
finds that, as a soldier who belongs to the Israeli armed forces and who was captured
during an enemy incursion into Israel, Gilad Shalit meets the requirements for prisoner-ofwar
status under the Third Geneva Convention and should be protected, treated humanely
and be allowed external communication as appropriate according to that Convention.

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1953. The Mission also examined whether the Palestinian armed groups complied with
their obligations under international humanitarian law to take constant care to minimize
the risk of harm to the civilian population in Gaza among whom the hostilities were being
conducted. The conduct of hostilities in built-up areas does not, of itself, constitute a
violation of international law. However, launching attacks - whether of rockets and
mortars at the population of southern Israel or at the Israeli armed forces inside Gaza -
close to civilian or protected buildings constitutes a failure to take all feasible precautions.
In cases where this occurred, the Palestinian armed groups would have unnecessarily
exposed the civilian population of Gaza to the inherent dangers of the military operations
taking place around them. The Mission found no evidence to suggest that Palestinian
armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or that
they forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks. The Mission also found no
evidence that members of Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat in civilian dress.
Although in the one incident of an Israeli attack on a mosque it investigated the Mission
found that there was no indication that that mosque was used for military purposes or to
shield military activities, the Mission cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other
cases.

5. Actions by responsible Palestinian authorities

1954. Although the Gaza authorities deny any control over armed groups and
responsibility for their acts, in the Mission’s view, if they failed to take the necessary
measures to prevent the Palestinian armed groups from endangering the civilian
population, the Gaza authorities would bear responsibility for the damage arising to the
civilians living in Gaza.

1955. The Mission finds that security services under the control of the Gaza authorities
carried out extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests, detentions and ill-treatment of
people, in particular political opponents, which constitute serious violations of the human
rights to life, to liberty and security of the person, to freedom from torture or cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, to be protected against arbitrary arrest
and detention, to a fair and impartial legal proceeding; and to freedom of opinion and
expression, including freedom to hold opinions without interference.

1956. The Mission also concludes that the Palestinian Authority’s actions against political
opponents in the West Bank, which started in January 2006 and intensified during the
period between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, constitute violations of human
rights and of the Palestinians’ own Basic Law. Detentions on political grounds violate the
rights to liberty and security of person, to a fair trial and the right not to be discriminated
against on the basis of one’s political opinion, which are all part of customary international
law. Reports of torture and other forms of ill-treatment during arrest and detention and of
death in detention require prompt investigation and accountability.

K. The need for accountability

1957. The Mission was struck by the repeated comment of Palestinian victims, human
rights defenders, civil society interlocutors and officials that they hoped that this would be
the last investigative mission of its kind, because action for justice would follow from it. It

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was struck, as well, by the comment that every time a report is published and no action
follows, this “emboldens Israel and her conviction of being untouchable”. To deny modes of
accountability reinforces impunity, and tarnishes the credibility of the United Nations and
of the international community. The Mission believes these comments ought to be at the
forefront in the consideration by Members States and United Nations bodies of its findings
and recommendations and action consequent upon them.

1958. The Mission is firmly convinced that justice and respect for the rule of law are the
indispensable basis for peace. The prolonged situation of impunity has created a justice
crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory that warrants action.

1959. After reviewing Israel’s system of investigation and prosecution of serious violations
of human rights and humanitarian law, in particular of suspected war crimes and crimes
against humanity, the Mission found major structural flaws that, in its view, make the
system inconsistent with international standards. With military “operational debriefings”
at the core of the system, there is no effective and impartial investigation mechanism and
victims of such alleged violations are deprived of any effective or prompt remedy.
Furthermore, such investigations, being internal to the Israeli military authority, do not
comply with international standards of independence and impartiality. The Mission
believes that the few investigations conducted by the Israeli authorities on alleged serious
violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and, in particular, alleged
war crimes, in the context of the military operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008
and 18 January 2009, are affected by the defects in the system, have been unduly delayed
despite the gravity of the allegations, and, therefore, lack the required credibility and
conformity with international standards. The Mission is concerned that investigations of
relatively less serious violations that the Government of Israel claims to be investigating
have also been unduly protracted.

1960. The Mission noted the pattern of delays, inaction or otherwise unsatisfactory
handling by Israeli authorities of investigations, prosecutions and convictions of military
personnel and settlers for violence and offences against Palestinians, including in the West
Bank, as well as their discriminatory outcome. Additionally, the current constitutional and
legal framework in Israel provides very few possibilities, if any, for Palestinians to seek
compensation and reparations.

1961. In the light of the information it reviewed and its analysis, the Mission concludes that
there are serious doubts about the willingness of Israel to carry out genuine investigations
in an impartial, independent, prompt and effective way as required by international law.
The Mission is also of the view that the system presents inherently discriminatory features
that make the pursuit of justice for Palestinian victims extremely difficult.

1962. With regard to allegations of violations of international humanitarian law falling
within the jurisdiction of responsible Palestinian authorities in Gaza, the Mission finds that
these allegations have not been investigated.
1963. The Mission notes that the responsibility to investigate violations of international
human rights and humanitarian law, prosecute if appropriate and try perpetrators belongs
in the first place to domestic authorities and institutions. This is a legal obligation

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incumbent on States and State-like entities. However, where domestic authorities are
unable or unwilling to comply with this obligation, international justice mechanisms must
be activated to prevent impunity.

1964. The Mission believes that, in the circumstances, there is little potential for
accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law
through domestic institutions in Israel and even less in Gaza. The Mission is of the view
that long-standing impunity has been a key factor in the perpetuation of violence in the
region and in the reoccurrence of violations, as well as in the erosion of confidence among
Palestinians and many Israelis concerning prospects for justice and a peaceful solution to
the conflict.

1965. The Mission considers that several of the violations referred to in this report amount
to grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It notes that there is a duty imposed
by the Geneva Conventions on all high contracting parties to search for and bring before
their courts those responsible for the alleged violations

1966. The Mission considers that the serious violations of international humanitarian law
recounted in this report fall within the subject-matter jurisdiction of the International
Criminal Court. The Mission notes that the United Nations Security Council has long
recognized the impact of the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian
question, on international peace and security, and that it regularly considers and reviews
this situation. The Mission is persuaded that, in the light of the long-standing nature of the
conflict, the frequent and consistent allegations of violations of international humanitarian
law against all parties, the apparent increase in intensity of such violations in the recent
military operations, and the regrettable possibility of a return to further violence,
meaningful and practical steps to end impunity for such violations would offer an effective
way to deter such violations recurring in the future. The Mission is of the view that the
prosecution of persons responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law
would contribute to ending such violations, to the protection of civilians and to the
restoration and maintenance of peace.

XXXI. RECOMMENDATIONS

1967. The Mission makes the following recommendations related to:

(a) Accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law;

(b) Reparations;

(c) Serious violations of human rights law;

(d) The blockade and reconstruction;

(e) The use of weapons and military procedures;

(f) The protection of human rights organizations and defenders;

(g) Follow-up to the Mission’s recommendations.

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1968. To the Human Rights Council,

(a) The Mission recommends that the United Nations Human Rights Council
should endorse the recommendations contained in this report, take appropriate action to
implement them as recommended by the Mission and through other means as it may deem
appropriate, and continue to review their implementation in future sessions;

(b) In view of the gravity of the violations of international human rights and
humanitarian law and possible war crimes and crimes against humanity that it has
reported, the Mission recommends that the United Nations Human Rights Council should
request the United Nations Secretary-General to bring this report to the attention of the
United Nations Security Council under Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations so
that the Security Council may consider action according to the Mission’s relevant
recommendations below;

(c) The Mission further recommends that the United Nations Human Rights
Council should formally submit this report to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal
Court;

(d) The Mission recommends that the Human Rights Council should submit this
report to the General Assembly with a request that it should be considered;

(e) The Mission recommends that the Human Rights Council should bring the
Mission’s recommendations to the attention of the relevant United Nations human rights
treaty bodies so that they may include review of progress in their implementation, as may
be relevant to their mandate and procedures, in their periodic review of compliance by
Israel with its human rights obligations. The Mission further recommends that the Human
Rights Council should consider review of progress as part of its universal periodic review
process.

1969. To the United Nations Security Council,

(a) The Mission recommends that the Security Council should require the
Government of Israel, under Article 40 of the Charter of the United Nations:

i) To take all appropriate steps, within a period of three months, to launch
appropriate investigations that are independent and in conformity with
international standards, into the serious violations of international
humanitarian and international human rights law reported by the
Mission and any other serious allegations that might come to its attention;

(ii) To inform the Security Council, within a further period of three months,
of actions taken, or in process of being taken, by the Government of Israel
to inquire into, investigate and prosecute such serious violations;

(b) The Mission further recommends that the Security Council should at the same
time establish an independent committee of experts in international humanitarian and
human rights law to monitor and report on any domestic legal or other proceedings
undertaken by the Government of Israel in relation to the aforesaid investigations. Such

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committee of experts should report at the end of the six-month period to the Security
Council on its assessment of relevant domestic proceedings initiated by the Government of
Israel, including their progress, effectiveness and genuineness, so that the Security Council
may assess whether appropriate action to ensure justice for victims and accountability for
perpetrators has been or is being taken at the domestic level. The Security Council should
request the committee to report to it at determined intervals, as may be necessary. The
committee should be appropriately supported by the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights;

(c) The Mission recommends that, upon receipt of the committee’s report, the
Security Council should consider the situation and, in the absence of good-faith
investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards having
been undertaken or being under way within six months of the date of its resolution under
Article 40 by the appropriate authorities of the State of Israel, again acting under Chapter
VII of the Charter of the United Nations, refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of
the International Criminal Court pursuant to article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute;

(d) The Mission recommends that the Security Council should require the
independent committee of experts referred to in subparagraph (b) to monitor and report
on any domestic legal or other proceedings undertaken by the relevant authorities in the
Gaza Strip in relation to the aforesaid investigations. The committee should report at the
end of the six-month period to the Security Council on its assessment of relevant domestic
proceedings initiated by the relevant authorities in Gaza, including their progress,
effectiveness and genuineness, so that the Security Council may assess whether appropriate
action to ensure justice for victims and accountability for perpetrators has been taken or is
being taken at the domestic level. The Security Council should request the committee to
report to it at determined intervals, as may be necessary;

(e) The Mission recommends that, upon receipt of the committee’s report, the
Security Council should consider the situation and, in the absence of good-faith
investigations that are independent and in conformity with international standards having
been undertaken or being under way within six months of the date of its resolution under
Article 40 by the appropriate authorities in Gaza, acting under Chapter VII of the Charter
of the United Nations, refer the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International
Criminal Court pursuant to article 13 (b) of the Rome Statute;

(f) The Mission recommends that lack of cooperation by the Government of Israel
or the Gaza authorities with the work of the committee should be regarded by the Security
Council to be obstruction of the work of the committee.

1970. To the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, with reference to the
declaration under article 12 (3) received by the Office of the Prosecutor of the
International Criminal Court from the Government of Palestine, the Mission considers
that accountability for victims and the interests of peace and justice in the region require
that the Prosecutor should make the required legal determination as expeditiously as
possible.

1971. To the General Assembly,
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(a) The Mission recommends that the General Assembly should request the
Security Council to report to it on measures taken with regard to ensuring accountability
for serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in relation to the
facts in this report and any other relevant facts in the context of the military operations in
Gaza, including the implementation of the Mission’s recommendations. The General
Assembly may remain appraised of the matter until it is satisfied that appropriate action is
taken at the domestic or international level in order to ensure justice for victims and
accountability for perpetrators. The General Assembly may consider whether additional
action within its powers is required in the interests of justice, including under its resolution
377 (V) on uniting for peace;

(b) The Mission recommends that the General Assembly should establish an
escrow fund to be used to pay adequate compensation to Palestinians who have suffered
loss and damage as a result of unlawful acts attributable to Israel during the December-
January military operation and actions in connection with it, and that the Government of
Israel should pay the required amounts into such fund. The Mission further recommends
that the General Assembly should ask the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to provide expert advice on the appropriate modalities to establish the
escrow fund;

(c) The Mission recommends that the General Assembly should ask the
Government of Switzerland to convene a conference of the high contracting parties to the
Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on measures to enforce the Convention in the Occupied
Palestinian Territory and to ensure its respect in accordance with its article 1;

(d) The Mission recommends that the General Assembly should promote an urgent
discussion on the future legality of the use of certain munitions referred to in this report,
and in particular white phosphorous, flechettes and heavy metal such as tungsten. In such
discussion the General Assembly should draw inter alia on the expertise of the
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The Mission further recommends that
the Government of Israel should undertake a moratorium on the use of such weapons in
the light of the human suffering and damage they have caused in the Gaza Strip.

1972. To the State of Israel,

(a) The Mission recommends that Israel should immediately cease the border
closures and restrictions on passage through border crossings with the Gaza Strip and
allow the passage of goods necessary and sufficient to meet the needs of the population, for
the recovery and reconstruction of housing and essential services, and for the resumption
of meaningful economic activity in the Gaza Strip;

(b) The Mission recommends that Israel should cease the restrictions on access to
the sea for fishing purposes imposed on the Gaza Strip and allow such fishing activities
within the 20 nautical miles as provided for in the Oslo Accords. It further recommends
that Israel should allow the resumption of agricultural activity within the Gaza Strip,
including within areas in the vicinity of the borders with Israel;

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 24

(c) Israel should initiate a review of the rules of engagement, standard operating
procedures, open fire regulations and other guidance for military and security personnel.
The Mission recommends that Israel should avail itself of the expertise of the International
Committee of the Red Cross, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights and other relevant bodies, and Israeli experts, civil society organizations
with the relevant expertise and specialization, in order to ensure compliance in this respect
with international humanitarian law and international human rights law. In particular
such rules of engagement should ensure that the principles of proportionality, distinction,
precaution and non-discrimination are effectively integrated in all such guidance and in
any oral briefings provided to officers, soldiers and security forces, so as to avoid the
recurrence of Palestinian civilian deaths, destruction and affronts on human dignity in
violation of international law;

(d) The Mission recommends that Israel should allow freedom of movement for
Palestinians within the Occupied Palestinian Territory - within the West Bank, including
East Jerusalem, between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and between the Occupied
Palestinian Territory and the outside world - in accordance with international human
rights standards and international commitments entered into by Israel and the
representatives of the Palestinian people. The Mission further recommends that Israel
should forthwith lift travel bans currently placed on Palestinians by reason of their human
rights or political activities;

(e) The Mission recommends that Israel should release Palestinians who are
detained in Israeli prisons in connection with the occupation. The release of children
should be an utmost priority. The Mission further recommends that Israel should cease the
discriminatory treatment of Palestinian detainees. Family visits for prisoners from Gaza
should resume;

(f) The Mission recommends that Israel should forthwith cease interference with
national political processes in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and as a first step release
all members of the Palestinian Legislative Council currently in detention and allow all
members of the Council to move between Gaza and the West Bank so that it may resume
functioning;

(g) The Mission recommends that the Government of Israel should cease actions
aimed at limiting the expression of criticism by civil society and members of the public
concerning Israel’s policies and conduct during the military operations in the Gaza Strip.
The Mission also recommends that Israel should set up an independent inquiry to assess
whether the treatment by Israeli judicial authorities of Palestinian and Jewish Israelis
expressing dissent in connection with the offensive was discriminatory, in terms of both
charges and detention pending trial. The results of the inquiry should be made public and,
subject to the findings, appropriate remedial action should be taken;

(h) The Mission recommends that the Government of Israel should refrain from
any action of reprisal against Palestinian and Israeli individuals and organizations that
have cooperated with the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, in
particular individuals who have appeared at the public hearings held by the Mission in
Gaza and Geneva and expressed criticism of actions by Israel;

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 25

(i) The Mission recommends that Israel should reiterate its commitment to
respecting the inviolability of United Nations premises and personnel and that it should
undertake all appropriate measures to ensure that there is no repetition of violations in the
future. It further recommends that reparation to the United Nations should be provided
fully and without further delay by Israel, and that the General Assembly should consider
this matter.

1973. To Palestinian armed groups,

(a) The Mission recommends that Palestinian armed groups should undertake
forthwith to respect international humanitarian law, in particular by renouncing attacks
on Israeli civilians and civilian objects, and take all feasible precautionary measures to
avoid harm to Palestinian civilians during hostilities;

(b) The Mission recommends that Palestinian armed groups who hold Israeli
soldier Gilad Shalit in detention should release him on humanitarian grounds. Pending
such release they should recognize his status as prisoner of war, treat him as such, and
allow him ICRC visits.

1974. To responsible Palestinian authorities,

(a) The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority should issue clear
instructions to security forces under its command to abide by human rights norms as
enshrined in the Palestinian Basic Law and international instruments, ensure prompt and
independent investigation of all allegations of serious human rights violations by security
forces under its control, and end resort to military justice to deal with cases involving
civilians;

(b) The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza
authorities should release without delay all political detainees currently in their power and
refrain from further arrests on political grounds and in violation of international human
rights law;

(c) The Mission recommends that the Palestinian Authority and the Gaza
authorities should continue to enable the free and independent operation of Palestinian
non-governmental organizations, including human rights organizations, and of the
Independent Commission for Human Rights.

1975. To the international community,

(a) The Mission recommends that the States parties to the Geneva Conventions of
1949 should start criminal investigations in national courts, using universal jurisdiction,
where there is sufficient evidence of the commission of grave breaches of the Geneva
Conventions of 1949. Where so warranted following investigation, alleged perpetrators
should be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with internationally recognized standards
of justice;

A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 26

(b) International aid providers should step up financial and technical assistance
for organizations providing psychological support and mental health services to the
Palestinian population;

(c) In view of their crucial function, the Mission recommends that donor
countries/assistance providers should continue to support the work of Palestinian and
Israeli human rights organizations in documenting and publicly reporting on violations of
human rights and international humanitarian law, and advising relevant authorities on
their compliance with international law;

(d) The Mission recommends that States involved in peace negotiations between
Israel and representatives of the Palestinian people, especially the Quartet, should ensure
that respect for the rule of law, international law and human rights assumes a central role
in internationally sponsored peace initiatives;

(e) In view of the allegations and reports about long-term environmental damage
that may have been created by certain munitions or debris from munitions, the Mission
recommends that a programme of environmental monitoring should take place under the
auspices of the United Nations, for as long as deemed necessary. The programme should
include the Gaza Strip and areas within southern Israel close to impact sites. The
environmental monitoring programme should be in accordance with the recommendations
of an independent body, and samples and analyses should be analysed by one or more
independent expert institutions. Such recommendations, at least at the outset, should
include measurement mechanisms which address the fears of the population of Gaza and
southern Israel at this time and should at a minimum be in a position to determine the
presences of heavy metals of all varieties, white phosphorous, tungsten micro-shrapnel and
granules and such other chemicals as may be revealed by the investigation.

1976. To the international community and responsible Palestinian authorities,

(a) The Mission recommends that appropriate mechanisms should be established
to ensure that the funds pledged by international donors for reconstruction activities in the
Gaza Strip are smoothly and efficiently disbursed, and urgently put to use for the benefit of
the population of Gaza;

(b) In view of the consequences of the military operations, the Mission
recommends that responsible Palestinian authorities as well as international aid providers
should pay special attention to the needs of persons with disabilities. In addition, the
Mission recommends that medical follow-up should be ensured by relevant international
and Palestinian structures with regard to patients who suffered amputations or were
otherwise injured by munitions, the nature of which has not been clarified, in order to
monitor any possible long-term impact on their health. Financial and technical assistance
should be provided to ensure adequate medical follow-up to Palestinian patients.

1977. To the international community, Israel and Palestinian authorities,

(a) The Mission recommends that Israel and representatives of the Palestinian
people, and international actors involved in the peace process, should involve Israeli and
A/HRC/12/48 (ADVANCE 2)
page 27
Palestinian civil society in devising sustainable peace agreements based on respect for
international law. The participation of women should be ensured in accordance with
Security Council resolution 1325 (2000);

(b) The Mission recommends that attention should be given to the position of
women and steps be taken to ensure their access to compensation, legal assistance and
economic security.

1978. To the United Nations Secretary-General, the Mission recommends that the
Secretary-General should develop a policy to integrate human rights in peace initiatives in
which the United Nations is involved, especially the Quartet, and request the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to provide the expertise required to
implement this recommendation.

1979. To the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights,

(a) The Mission recommends that the Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights should monitor the situation of persons who have
cooperated with the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict and
periodically update the Human Rights Council through its public reports and in other ways
as it may deem appropriate;

(b) The Mission recommends that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights should give attention to the Mission’s recommendations in its periodic reporting on
the Occupied Palestinian Territory to the Human Rights Council.

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