Palestinian groups: PA, Hamas must also probe Goldstone charges against them
Eleven Palestinian human rights organizations have called on the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas government in Gaza to endorse the Goldstone report by investigating Palestinian violations of international law allegedly committed during operation Cast Lead.
Acts listed by the report include Palestinian attacks on civilians in Israel and instances of internal repression, such as summary executions in the Gaza Strip and arrests and torture in the West Bank.
The calls were made in identical letters sent to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh. The organizations asked the two leaders to launch investigations before the February 5 deadline by which the UN Secretary-General is to report to the General Assembly on compliance by Israel and the Palestinians with the assembly's earlier resolution.
On November 5 the assembly endorsed the conclusions of the report and urged both Palestinian and Israeli authorities to investigate suspected breaches of international law during last year's Gaza fighting.
Two of the 11 organizations that signed the letters, Adallah and the Arab Association for Human Rights, are based in Israel. The others operate in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and include groups such as the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq, the Adameer prisoner's rights group and the Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counselling.
The letters state that "Whereas the bulk of the (Goldstone) report addressed violations by Israel, the occupying power, it also considered violations by Palestinian armed groups and the Palestinian authorities in Gaza and the West Bank".
The authors say that for PLO efforts to have the report endorsed by the UN to be of lasting value, the Palestinian authorities must take action to implement its recommendations.
"We urge you to immediately take clear and public steps toward holding to account all those who prove to be responsible for the violations detailed in the report," they wrote.
In order not to endorse the de-facto political separation of the West Bank and Gaza the groups sent the letters to Haniyeh and Abbas rather than to Haniyeh and his direct West Bank counterpart, prime minister Salam Fayyad.
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