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Thursday, September 17, 2009

UN condemns 'war crimes' in Gaza

UN condemns 'war crimes' in Gaza - I saw this or a similar one Sept 14 or 15, so this is old news, but I meant to comment, preferably before I heard other commentary.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8257301.stm

Goldstone's (he's the head of the fact-finding mission) Op Ed:



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After this, there are 2 Analysis/Interviews I listened to this week.


“Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told the BBC the report had been "born in sin" and had no mandate for its investigation.”

Pretty funny description, but at least you can see how Israel feels about this.

It’s good to see this in print and to have something official, but I seriously doubt it will go anywhere. It has 3 and 6 month deadlines. I just don’t see either side launching credible investigations in that time, nor do I see Israel’s case being sent to the ICJ. They’ve got friends in high places, or so I’ve heard. More likely is that Hamas will get charged. Or Iran. Never mind that they aren’t in the report. Israel will find a way. I’m sure they helped develop the “threat of Iraq” and its bogus 9/11 link, so I have more confidence they can turn this around on Iran than they will get charged or have to deal with any unpleasant consequences (reparations, sanctions, etc).

This article details Hamas’ violations more than the others and shows the disdain of Israel for the whole thing (and Hamas).

I think it was the PBS link below where Goldstone tells about the investigation of Israel’s excuses for bombing UN shelters, schools, ambulances, etc and how there was no evidence. It seemed flimsy, but it’s good that it was investigated some.


Analysis/Interview 1:
Finkelstein on Democracy Now discussing the UN report:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/16/un_inquiry_finds_israel_punished_and


He says:


“Goldstone reports Israel guilty of massive war crimes and also faults Hamas.” That’s what a true headline would have read.”

I think he’s getting at what Goldstone will explain in the PBS link up next.

He makes the point that the report is based on laws of war, but it was a massacre; no battles, just bombing. This is an especially good point to think about if you read Goldstone's Op Ed in the NYT.

He mentions this support for the massacre claim - “Breaking the Silence.” Do a search on “insane” to see soldiers complain that they weren’t fighting anyone, it was boring, etc.

Breaking silence on Gaza abuses
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8151336.stm

“You see a house, a window, shoot at the window. You don't see a terrorist there? Fire at the window. In urban warfare, anyone is your enemy. No innocents.”
The quote and link are from my past post- http://notanotherpoliticalblog-j.blogspot.com/2009/07/could-israel-be-getting-conscience.html


He also brings to light that the mandate was for Israeli crimes, but Goldstone wouldn’t do it unless it looked at all sides, plus he’s a supporter of Israel. The bias argument is unfounded in this way in addition to the facts on the ground.

Palmor, Israel’s FM spokesperson, says Israel will look at it carefully/ Oren (below) and others say Israel discounts it. More double-speak. Which is it, people?

How can we constantly hold Israel up as a model democracy and valuable ally when the facts continually and consistently contradict Israel’s official statements? The report is a step in the right direction. The settlement discussion that Obama started in the US is another. There’s a long way to go to get justice and hence peace.


Analysis/Interview 2:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/july-dec09/gaza_09-15.html


In the first part, Goldstone himself explains what I started talking about in the last post. Most of the report deals with Israel, not because Hamas didn’t also commit crimes against humanity or it was biased, but because Israel committed a massive number of crimes and they are more so (whether or not they occurred or constituted crimes) in dispute in the current political atmosphere than are Hamas’.

In the second part, Ambassador Oren from Israel tells Israel’s side.

Joe Wilson should meet this guy. He’d (Wilson) actually have a valid point.

His first response to the question, what is right and what is wrong in the UN report, are that Israel’s sorry about the deaths; Hamas isn’t. How is that relevant (we won’t even assess the truthfulness)?

And get this:

“And then, finally, the commission itself, the report, the investigation took place under the auspices of the Hamas-run government in Gaza. Hamas actually picked the witnesses for this commission. So Israel basically was the equivalent of being summoned to a court in which its guilt was already presumed, in which one of the jurors had already declared Israel guilty, and which the witnesses for the prosecution were, in fact, the murderers.


I can't think of any country in the world which would participate in such a farce of justice.”

I can think of one…Israel. This sounds like the “trials” of Palestinians if they are indeed charged with anything while in Israeli jails! But the report isn’t quite as he portrayed it, unfortunately for his analogy.

And when the – ‘the report was conducted under Hamas auspices’ – thing didn’t shut Ifill down, we move to the – ‘if our own investigations (in which Israel is found innocent on every count) don’t satisfy the international community, then it is a victory for terror and concern of free democracies everywhere’ argument. Will this finally close the discussion of these irrelevant unpleasantries?

Next was Ifill’s question:


“Is there any way that you feel that the two of you might at least agree on this point, that maybe this report is not worth the paper it's printed on? Or do you believe that this is a starting point for a deeper conversation and investigation about the conflict?”

He doesn’t appear to want to agree with Hamas there, but also doesn’t think this report has anything to do with getting peace talks back on track. On what planet wouldn’t a report such as this that talks about so many Israeli breaches of law, along with the settlement problem and the refusal to implement the UN approved right of return for refugees and status of Jerusalem be relevant???

The guy criticized the report and was so confident in Israel’s decision to not participate in it, I had assumed he had read it. I was wrong. It’s 570 pages after all. And critical of Israel. Best thing is to discredit it. When can we talk about Iran? He was eager to tell why Israel was not participating- Hamas was running the show (supposedly). When confronted with the other sources of war crimes, witnesses, etc- he says, oh, hmm, I haven’t actually read it. Unbelievable!

So why should we listen to this guy or the government he represents that told him to say such nonsense?

He said the results of the report were prejudged. I guess Israel know something about this concept. Palestinians that are able to make it into the “justice” system are prejudged to be guilty and Israeli soldiers (or military in general) accused of crimes are innocent.

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Update:
Why The Goldstone Report Matters
http://intifada-palestine.com/2009/09/21/why-the-goldstone-report-matters/

“So why did the Israeli government boycott the commission? The real answer is quite simple: they knew full well that the commission, any commission, would have to reach the conclusions it did reach.”Uri Avnery (Israeli peace activist, and former Knesset member), “On the Goldstone Report” 19 Sept 2009

Other reactions:

"We are going to deploy great diplomatic and political efforts on the
international stage to block and contain the perverse and noxious effects of the Goldstone Commission report,"
foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.


The mass-selling Yediot Aharonot said the instinctive reaction to the report is "a polite invitation to kiss our rear end."


J Post- Israel called the Goldstone Commission Report "nauseating"…

Netanyahu – kangaroo court

Danny Ayalon – circus

Regev - report was conceived in sin

Lieberman – The Goldstone report is seeking to bring the UN back to the dark days in which it decided, under the guidance of states with interests, that Zionism is racism, ”


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