UN public hearing in Gaza broadcasts accounts of war victims
• Inquiry held by Jewish South African judge
• Israeli witnesses to attend next round in Geneva
One after another, they detailed Israeli rocket strikes and artillery shelling near a mosque, a UN school and on several homes across Gaza during the three-week war. The two-day hearing is part of an inquiry by the UN human rights council into the war led by the respected South African judge, Richard Goldstone.
Israel has refused entry for the inquiry team, accusing the UN council of an anti-Israel bias even though Goldstone himself is Jewish. But another round of hearings will be held in Geneva next week, for which some Israeli witnesses are expected to be flown in. They may include residents of Sderot, near Gaza, which has suffered repeated Palestinian rocket attacks.
"The purpose of the public hearings in Gaza and Geneva is to show the faces and broadcast the voices of victims – all of the victims," Goldstone said last week. He had sat on South Africa's constitutional court after the fall of apartheid and was a chief prosecutor on the UN criminal tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Yesterday's public hearing was the first in a UN fact-finding mission, though there is little chance it will lead to prosecutions. Up to 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the war.....
The UN inquiry team will issue a final report in August.
My previous articles on the topic are listed here: