The Use of Force in a Colonial Present, and the Goldstone Report's Blind Spot
Palestine Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 16, pp. 55-77, 2010
27 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011 Last revised: 11 Mar 2012
Date Written: August 8, 2010
The ‘Goldstone Report’ is significant for its cogent documentation of potential international crimes and human rights violations committed in the context of Israel’s ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in the Gaza Strip, as well as the light it shines on the habitual failure of authorities on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to acknowledge and adequately investigate such crimes and violations. The authors of the Report, however, neglect to address important questions relating to the recourse to the use of force under international law. Coming in the wake of a spate of wars in the first decade of the twenty-first century where the use of force has gravitated towards aggression rather than self-defense (Iraq the most prominent amongst them), the Goldstone Report represents an opportunity missed for a major international judicial mission to reify the prohibition of the use of force in international law. The implications of the report choosing to apply itself solely to the regulation of force and not the resort to force itself - in a time when militarism abounds under the guise of humanitarianism - are disquieting.
Keywords: public international law, use of force, self-defence, Article 51 UN Charter, Israel, Palestine, occupied Palestinian territory, Gaza Strip, Operation Cast Lead, Goldstone
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation