March 3, 2011 at 6:14 am 1 comment

Continued from: A mockery of human rights – 2

The Goldstone



Excerpts from his book “How to avoid Armageddon”
Available through Amazon
Click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid armageddon

Judge Richard J. Goldstone, the head of the mission, is a South African jurist, with an incredibly impressive career in jurisprudence, connected with war crimes, human rights and commissions of inquiry in other parts of the world. When discounting his role as a judge during South Africa’s Apartheid era, there seemed to be few people in the world as eminently qualified to head such a mission. His colleagues included another eminent jurist, Professor Christine Chinkin of Britain; well-known human rights activist and lawyer Hina Jilani of Pakistan; and Colonel Desmond Travers of Ireland, a member of the board of directors of  I.I.C.I., an international organization, investigating war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. At the time some observers thought that the only drawback to the mission was the fact that its head, Judge Goldstone, was a Jew and a member of the Board of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, with personal connections to Israel. As it turned out Goldstone’s conduct in this case clearly indicated a complete lack of bias in favor of Israel.

But the choice of Professor Christine Chinkin and Hina Jilani, both brilliant, highly capable professionals in their own right, nevertheless did not bode well for objective investigation. Professor Chinkin had been a co-signatory to a scathing letter in the London Sunday Times (January 11, 2009), asserting among other things that Israel’s actions “amount to aggression, not self-defense, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary.” At the time this letter was written at the height of the war, the images coming out of Gaza were horrific, and the condemnation of the signatories, all eminent academics or jurists, was understandable, but it clearly ignored the reasons for the war or the way the Gazans were waging it. The letter indicated a definite bias against Israel, and therefore Professor Chinkin could hardly have been expected to give a suitable, objective accounting of the course of the events she was chosen to examine. Hina Jilani, undoubtedly professionally suitable for the mission, is however a citizen of Pakistan, a country that has never recognized Israel and often expresses overt hostility, therefore she could not in good faith have been expected to offer professional impartiality to the Mission.

Commenting on the suitability of Professor Chinkin, Judge Goldstone said that the letter to the London Sunday Times which she had co-signed could have been the grounds for disqualification, had the mission been a judicial inquiry, which it was not. Judge Goldstone’s explanation nevertheless confirms the Mission’s lack of impartiality, so necessary in order to ensure its integrity. Oddly, what this great jurist was saying in fact, was that prejudice did not matter, because the Mission was not a judicial proceeding. Therefore, at the outset there was evidence of intrinsic bias in the composition of this Mission.

The Israeli government refused to cooperate with the mission, while the Gazans welcomed it. The reason that Israel refused to cooperate was the U.N. Human Rights Council’s prejudicial record regarding Israel. The H.R.C. had consistently singled out Israel for condemnation, overlooking provocations against its security, while hardly relating to the real violators of human rights, such as Sudan, China, North Korea, Russia, Myanmar, Congo Republic and others. Also the H.R.C. had been typically silent during the firing of over ten thousand rockets and missiles on Israeli civilians during the years prior to this assault on Gaza, even though Israel had appealed to have this problem dealt with. For Israel, this in itself implied gross bias.

The Mission examined 36 incidents, conducting 188 individual interviews, some face to face and others conducted over the telephone. Many NGOs volunteered information. In the absence of official Israeli cooperation, the Mission made do with information from individual Israelis.

On September 15, 2009, the Mission released its 575-page report, which found among other things, that there was 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.” The mission also found that there was evidence that “Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity, in their repeated launching of rockets and mortars into Southern Israel.” The mission called for both sides to launch fully independent investigations, adding that should they fail to do so, the allegations be brought to the International Criminal Court.

From Israel’s point of view this assessment, while pointing to evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity on the part of the Palestinian armed groups, nevertheless ignored the totally intolerable situation that Israel had faced for so many years, the fact that she was left with no alternative but to invade Gaza in order to end this situation, and the nature of this particular war as a result of the militants’ methods of directly involving their own people in the conflict by their tactics.

The Report also stated that Israel’s military assault on Gaza was designed to “humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability” or that Israel’s violations were “systematic and deliberate.” Israel is accused of blockade, collective punishment, reprisals, and wanton destruction. 

Bias in any situation is made evident by labels that do not take into account the circumstances. So, while the people of Gaza were clearly terrorized and undoubtedly humiliated, tragically that is how it is in every war. Furthermore, that terror and humiliation was suffered by the Gazan population does not infer, as the report stated, that Israel’s military assault was designed to do this. The campaign was designed in order to put a stop to the rockets crashing into Israeli territory – something any other country in the world would have done, probably far sooner and with far less restraint. The Report all but ignored the fact that the terror, humiliation, blockade, collective punishment (which was unavoidable in time of war) and destruction (which, had it been wanton would have been infinitely worse, given Israel’s massive fire power) were all a result of the years of attacks by the militants of Gaza – even after Israel had withdrawn every last Jewish soldier, settler or administrator from Gaza years earlier. The entire report is full of such unqualified and one-sided labeling.

Whether Israel made a mistake by not cooperating with the Mission is a relevant issue for debate. On the one hand, as mentioned earlier, the Israel Government predicted bias and subsequent condemnation. On the other hand the Mission was prevented from acquiring vital data that Israel could have provided, which might have countered some of the Gazan assertions that were clearly skewed either because of the constraints imposed on the witnesses by their fear of reprisals from Hamas or because it is so easy to fabricate events for eager ears.

What was particularly interesting were the reactions in the Middle East and around the world. The militant Islamic organization Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, initially rejected the findings, but then urged the international community to accept it. All the Arab countries accepted the report, as did the Organization of the Islamic Conference. The European Parliament passed a resolution endorsing it.

On the other hand, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution, denouncing the report as “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the Goldstone Report is a prize for terror and will make it difficult for democracies to fight terror. He warned world leaders that they and their anti-terror forces could be targets for charges similar to those in the report.

A number of publications that invariably express criticism against Israeli actions, had sobering comments to make on the report. The Economist, for instance, denounced the report as “deeply flawed” and detrimental to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, arguing that it was tainted by anti-Israel prejudice in the H.R.C. The Mission was faulted for detecting little or no evidence in favor of the charge that Hamas endangered civilians by basing themselves around schools, mosques and hospitals.

The Washington Post wrote, “…the Goldstone commission proceeded to make a mockery of impartiality with its judgment of facts … it was unable to confirm that Hamas hid its fighters among civilians, used human shields, fired mortars and rockets from outside schools, stored weapons in mosques, and used a hospital for its headquarters, despite abundant available evidence.”

Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, speaking on behalf of U.N. Watch at a special session of H.R.C. in October 2009, explained that Hamas is “adept at staging and distorting incidents.” He said that during the conflict the Israel Defense Forces “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. ” Also, civilian casualties among the Palestinian were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting, which involved using human shields as a matter of policy, and deliberate attempts to sacrifice their own civilians. Israel, he claimed, took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, aborted potentially effective missions in order to prevent civilian casualties, and took unthinkable risks by allowing huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza during the fighting.”

On October 16, 2009 the H.R.C. conducted a vote on the findings of the report, selecting only Israel for censure. 25 of the 47-nation body, mostly developing countries, voted in favor of the resolution. Only the U.S. and five European countries voted against. Judge Goldstone, the head of the Mission said, “This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report.”

Most Israelis feel that the Goldstone Report takes away Israel’s right to defend itself against armed aggression. When considering all the circumstances that Israel faced during the years preceding its military incursion into Gaza, the Mission’s Report clearly indicates that any effective actions that Israel takes to prevent armed attacks constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. Under such constraints Israel cannot legitimately defend itself. By abiding Israel would ultimately be destroyed. This makes it hard not to conclude therefore that the Goldstone Report and the way it was subsequently adopted by the Human Rights Council, actually sanctions the future destruction of Israel.

*   *   *

Clearly oil and global power struggles are significant factors in this unique situation, where the United Nations Organization through its various bodies and procedures, repeatedly castigates and condemns one of the smaller nations of the world which needs to defend itself against constant threats and attacks by members of one of the largest, wealthiest nations. This is patently clear when at the same time in a dozen other places on the globe, hundreds of thousands of people are killed and banished from their homes, with hardly a peep from the U.N., set up for the express purpose of preventing such atrocities.

The various U.N. bodies are heavily influenced by the large presence of countries that are direct adversaries of Israel, or deeply prejudicial against her. Many other countries are strongly connected to these countries through political and economic ties. This leaves a minority of countries that are willing to stand up to the constant anti-Israel bias in the U.S. These countries, often acting with moral courage, have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Italy, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Marshall Islands and Micronesia. This has also been the case with the U.S., which has frequently used its veto in the Security Council to forestall particularly biased resolutions against Israel. At the time of writing, the determination of its 44th President to seek appeasement with the Islamic world, might put this traditional American brake on global bias on hold. Also, in the past Holland, Denmark and Spain were prepared to face up to the bias, as were a number of other democracies when anti-Israel sentiment became too patently mendacious.

The U.N. could have done so much more to prevent war and promote peace and goodwill on Earth. Structured with the various necessary agencies and procedures, only one principle was missing to accomplish these wonderful ideals. The abolishment of lies and deceit and the strict application of truthfulness. 

To order the book click: www.amazon.com  type: how to avoid Armageddon


Entry filed under: Blogroll, dangeous lies and halftruths, How to avoid Armageddon, Solutions for Palestine, United Nations. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .


1 Comment Add your own

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


%d bloggers like this: