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U.N. Finds Evidence of War Crimes in Gaza Fighting

A U.N. report has concluded that both the Israeli military and armed Palestinian groups committed actions amounting to war crimes during December's three-week war in Gaza. Gwen Ifill speaks with an author of the report and the Israeli ambassador to the U.S.

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    Now, a strongly worded U.N. report on the Israeli campaign in Gaza.

    The report focuses on last December's 32-day air and ground campaign in Gaza. The Israeli military offensive followed years of rocket attacks launched into southern Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian militants.

    Different accounts place the number of Palestinian casualties at or around 1,400, including an undetermined number of civilians. The Israeli government reported 13 Israelis killed during the three weeks of fighting, 10 of them soldiers.

    The report concludes that Israeli deliberately targeted civilians by launching military operations against homes, factories, schools and hospitals in a deliberate policy of disproportionate force.

    The 574-page report focuses primarily on what it calls grave breaches by Israeli forces, including willful killing, torture, or inhuman treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property.

    The Israeli government did not cooperate with the investigation.

    The report also determined that Palestinian militant groups violated international law in part because they failed to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population.

    Israeli officials said today the final report is one-sided, a farce of a human rights fact-finding commission. Hamas also criticized the report, saying it was equating the victim and the aggressor.

    The report and its recommendations will be presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva later this month.

    I spoke with Justice Richard Goldstone, who led the U.N. fact-finding mission, from the United Nations earlier this evening.

    Justice Goldstone, welcome. We saw what your report's conclusions were today, but what was the impetus for it?

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