In 2008, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict escalated with Israel’s airstrikes and ground operations known as Operation Cast Lead. The UN Human Rights Council launched an investigation into Cast Lead, citing reports about the disproportionate nature of the casualties (14 Israelis compared to 1,166 Palestinians). Jewish South African jurist Richard Goldstone agreed to head up this investigation, officially known as the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict.
The US and Israel protested the investigation, arguing that the Human Rights Council (and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) had historically placed disproportionate scrutiny on Israeli military operations in Palestinian territories. Even through Israel refused to cooperate with the investigation, Goldstone continued the mission, producing a 574-page document that the press dubbed the "Goldstone Report."
This case study examines the chronology of the fact-finding mission and the decisions Goldstone made before, during, and after the publication of the Goldstone Report. Students are asked to ponder how Goldstone could have navigated the landscape of competing truths and to what extent he should publicly defend his findings. This is a follow-up case to the "A" case and gives details about the actions Goldstone took in response to the public backlash.
- Discuss a leader’s options, ethics, and the potential repercussions when undertaking highly controversial investigations.
- Analyze how international law could or should play a role in international military conflicts.
- Understand the objectives and precedents of the United Nations Human Rights Commission and assess the appropriate intervention into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
- Understand the points of view of various stakeholder groups, and discuss how best to balance state sovereignty, international impartiality, and human rights responsibilities of Israel, Palestine, and the United Nations.
International Law, Human Rights Investigations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Leadership, United Nations
Geographic: Gaza Strip, Israel, United Nations
Event Start Date: 2008
To obtain accessible versions of our products for use by those with disabilities, please contact the HLS Case Studies Program at email@example.com or +1-617-496-1316.
Watermarked educator copies and a teacher's manual for this product are available free of charge to educators and staff at non-profit institutions. The teacher's manual is available free of charge to for-profit trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to these materials.
Note: It can take up to three business days after you create an account to verify educator access. Verification will be confirmed via email.
Please note that each purchase of this product entitles the purchaser to one download and use. If you need multiple copies, please purchase the number of copies you need. For more information, see Copying Your Case Study.