Stonewalling Goldstone - by Stephen Lendman
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," saying:
"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 action.
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:
"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."