[JURIST] The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) [official website] passed a resolution [press release; text, PDF] Friday endorsing the final report [JURIST report] of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict [official website], which recommends that both Israel and Hamas should conduct credible investigations into alleged human rights violations that took place during Operation Cast Lead [Global Security backgrounder], or face referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. The council voted 25-6, with 11 abstaining, to back the report and recommended that the UN General Assembly [official website] examine the report during its current session. In adopting the resolution, the UNHRC strongly condemned actions by the Israelis, which limited Palestinians' access to their lands. The resolution also called for an end to Israeli policies in East Jerusalem [B'Tselem backgrounder] which have resulted in the confiscation of land, demolishing of homes, and expansion of new settlements, and demanded that Israel respect the religious rights of those in the Occupied Palestinian Territory [OHCHR backgrounder], according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text] and other international conventions. Ultimately, the resolution calls on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile], to monitor the human rights situation in and around East Jerusalem.
Last month, Richard Goldstone, head of the Gaza mission, presented his findings [JURIST report] to the UNHRC. The Goldstone mission began its field operations in Gaza in June, entering Gaza through Egypt's Rafah crossing after Israel announced that it would not cooperate with the investigation, and concluded hearings [JURIST reports] in July. Goldstone was appointed to head the investigation [JURIST report] in April, amid strong criticism [JURIST report] from Israel. The probe followed a previous report [text, PDF; JURIST report], authored by UN Special Rapporteur Richard Falk, which criticized Israel for failing to take adequate precautions to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their offensives in the region. Israel has rejected [JURIST report] the findings of the Goldstone report, and has said that it will not comply with its calls for independent investigations.