The U.N. is going to determine if Hamas and Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. Even if they did, what can the U.N. do about it?
The human rights machinery of the United Nations is gearing up to investigate the conflict in Gaza. Its new investigative commission has a mandate to look into abuses by all sides in Gaza, but public attention has centered on whether Israeli forces committed crimes during its weeks-long air and ground operations. Most observers acknowledge that Hamas's indiscriminate -- if usually ineffective -- rocket attacks are illegal, but the question of whether Israel's targeting policy crossed the legal line has been hotly disputed. Don't expect clarity anytime soon. Recent history suggests that the U.N.'s investigation won't produce consensus -- and won't pave the way for prosecutions either.