- On September 15, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council's
(HRC) Goldstone Commission issued its findings on Cast Lead, Israel's war
of aggression against Gaza, inflicting enormous loss of life, thousands
of injuries, massive human suffering, and vast destruction, despite no
provocation or threat to Israeli security.
- The Commission concluded that "there is evidence
indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian
law committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed
actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity."
- Notably the Commission said:
- "While the Israeli Government has sought to portray
its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise
of its right of self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been
directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as
a whole." Defensive rocket attacks in response to repeated Israeli
provocations were, in fact, a pretext for naked aggression.
- On September 27, 2009, Haaretz writer Nathan Guttman
headlined, "Israel, US working to limit damage of Goldstone report,"
- "Because of joint efforts, it's all but certain
the report will not reach any binding international forums." With
US help, Israel was obstructionist all along, refusing to cooperate in
the investigation, including by preventing Goldstone from entering Israel.
Its "drive to counter the report began moments" after its release,
blasting it as biased and pressing Washington to block Security Council
- The last refuge of an exposed scoundrel is lying, an
Israeli speciality. In this case. Jonathan Peled, spokesman of Israel's
Washington Embassy, said report conclusions carry a hidden danger for "every
country fighting terror. We need to make sure this report does not endanger
the US and other countries."
- More as well from Israel's Finance Minister, Yuval Steinitz,
denouncing Goldstone (a distinguished Jewish jurist) as anti-Semitic, despite
his longtime support of Israel. He also serves on the Hebrew University
of Jerusalem's board of governors.
- The US State Department also responded, spokesman Ian
Kelly citing "overly sweeping conclusions of fact and law with respect
to Israel," while failing to challenge its findings.
- Shortly before the HRC voted to endorse Goldstone's report,
the PA bowed to US and Israeli pressure to defer voting until March 2010.
At the time, calls for Abbas' resignation were heard, to no avail.
- Netanyahu said referring the report to the International
Criminal Court (ICC) would stop the peace process, another willful deception.
Moreover, Washington told Jewish leaders that America would use its Security
Council veto to block the report's "difficulties," assuring absolution
for Israel's war crimes like previous ones for decades.
- On October 19, 2009, the 47-member HRC approved a resolution
endorsing Israeli war crimes charges, voting 25 in favor, six against,
11 abstentions, and five no-shows. Predictably, no votes were cast by America,
four EU member states (Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary and Slovakia), and
Ukraine. Heavy Washington pressure got support from countries dependent
on US political, economic or military aid to buy Israel as much cover as
- Accountability Again Obstructed
- On September 21, 2010 in Geneva, an HRC statement said:
- "It was clear to the Committee that the IDF had
not distinguished between civilians and civilian objects and military targets.
Both the loss of life and the damage to property were disproportionate
to the harm suffered by Israel or any threatened harm. Israel's actions
could not be justified as self-defense....The IDF was responsible for the
crime of killing, wounding and terrorizing civilians (as well as) wonton(ly)
destr(oying) property and that such destruction could not be justified
on grounds of military necessity."
- The HRC called IDF crimes so grave, "it was compelled
to consider whether (genocide) had been committed." Its conclusion
was that Israel "committed war crimes, crimes against humanity and,
possibly genocide in the course of Operation Cast Lead."
- On September 29, 2010, in spite of overwhelming, incontrovertible
evidence, Mahmoud Abbas again bowed to US/Israeli pressure, instructing
his permanent Geneva Human Rights Council envoy, Ibrahim Khraishi, to request
more time for further investigations. As a result, a passed resolution
got six more months, the strategy being delay, obstruct, and keep the report
buried in Geneva, out of sight and mind.
- The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) denounced
Khraishi, saying he's:
- "holding justice hostage to politics, and extending
de facto impunity to the Israeli military and political leadership."
By getting the HRC to agree to more delay, he sent "a dangerous message"
that what happened in Gaza....is acceptable. With such impunity, there
is no guarantee for Palestinians that these crimes will not be repeated."
- In fact, they're assured by granting blanket immunity
for daily crimes of war and against humanity throughout Palestine. With
no accountability, they've continued unchecked.
- A previous article explained the PA recommendation for
whitewash, accessed through the following link:
- It asked who do they serve anyway, absolving crimes against
Palestinian civilians, causing massive human suffering and vast destruction,
leveling wide areas of Gaza unrelated to military necessity.
- Mahmoud Abbas capitulated, betraying his people again.
It's the same role he's played at least since Oslo when as chief Palestinian
negotiator he agreed to surrender Palestinian land, their legitimate rights,
and end opposition resistance. Then as president, became a coup d'etat
leader, collaborating for aid and special favors.
- His earlier betrayal got PA economy minister, Bassem
Khoury, to resign in protest. PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, Hatem
Abdel-Qader, also left, saying his government failed to resist home demolitions,
- "I prefer not to be part of such a government and
continue enjoying personal and financial gains, and quit instead."
- Moreover, 16 human rights organizations condemned the
PA's latest action, a joint statement demanding accountability after decades
of impunity, one passage saying:
- "The belief that accountability and the rule of
law can be brushed aside in the pursuit of peace is misguided. (Sustainable)
peace can only be built on human rights, on justice, and the rule of law....As
human rights organizations, we strongly condemn the Palestinian leadership's
decision to defer the proposal of the international community. Such pressure
is in conflict with States international obligations, and is an insult
to the Palestinian people."
- Signatories included the Palestinian Centre for Human
Rights, BADIL Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights,
Physicians for Human Rights/Israel, Public Committee Against Torture in
Israel, Addamer, Defense for Children International/Palestine Section,
Adalah, Al Haq, Arab Association for Human Rights, among others.
- A Final Comment
- Goldstone's report isn't dead, but it's on life support.
Nonetheless, HRC's Committee of Experts remains active, headed by John
Dugard, former UN Special Human Rights Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine.
However, whether or not it will matter is worrisome, given forces for delay,
obstruct and whitewash in control. Wresting it from them may prove insurmountable,
but serious efforts must be made to try. Otherwise, predictable consequences
will follow, assuring violence, unaccountability and injustice.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour
on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and
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