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UN rights investigator to continue Gaza Strip mission despite Israel objections

[JURIST] UN rights investigator Richard Goldman [appointment release; JURIST report] said Wednesday that his fact-finding mission into possible human rights violations during the recent Gaza Strip conflict [JURIST news archive] will continue despite objections by Israel. Goldman said that he plans to travel to the region in June and will hold public hearings to collect testimony about the alleged abuses. He also said that he hopes to visit both Israel and the Palestinian Territory during the trip, but that Israel has not responded to a request to enter the country. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Wednesday that the country objects to the mission [AP report] because it was originally commissioned only to investigate those abuses allegedly committed against Palestinians during the conflict. Goldman has since broadened the scope to cover potential abuses on both sides, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon [official website] said Wednesday that he hopes both sides cooperate [UN News Centre report] with the investigation. Goldman is due to deliver a report on his findings to the UN Human Rights Council [official website] by August 4.

Israel originally said in April it would not comply with the investigation after criticizing its mandate [JURIST reports] earlier that month. The probe was a result of a report [text, PDF; JURIST report] authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk [appointment release] that criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Both Israel and the US condemned [JURIST report] the report as biased.

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