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UGLY COUNTRIES JUST DOIN' THEIR THING:
Suppressing War Crimes Prosecution of Israel
Friday, 19 November 2010
Israel's drive to counter the Goldstone Report began moments after its release, blasting it as biased and pressing Washington to block Security Council action.
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.
Notably the Commission said:
On September 27, 2009, Haaretz writer Nathan Guttman headlined, "Israel, US working to limit damage of Goldstone report," saying:
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 possible.
Accountability Again Obstructed
On September 21, 2010 in Geneva, an HRC statement said:
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:
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.]
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, explaining:
Moreover, 16 human rights organizations condemned the PA's latest action, a joint statement demanding accountability after decades of impunity, one passage saying:
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.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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