The state of Israel can do no wrong in the eyes of the U.S. and the Congress. Time and time again, when Israel has been cited by the UN or by other international organizations for military actions that have violated international laws, the Congress has looked the other way and given it a pass. The House of Representatives has just made a mockery of justice when it voted to condemn the Goldstone Report by a vote of 344 to 36.
The Goldstone Report cites both Israel and Hamas for violating international laws involving human rights. Judge Goldstone, a much respected South African jurist and his team, undertook an in-depth investigation of the Gaza War, including events before, during and after that bloody conflict. They spent much time in Gaza looking into alleged human rights violations against Gaza and its civilians but Israel barred them from doing the same in their country. Israel refused to cooperate in any way.
Since the report was criticized by various elements of our government, Judge Goldstone offered to meet with U.S. officials and members of Congress to answer their objections but he was not given that opportunity. Here was a report that contained numerous facts and evidence to back up its assertions but the governments of both Israel and the U.S. would not even discuss it with Judge Goldstone.
The report did cite both Israel and Hamas for human rights violations, not just Israel. The evidence presented shows that both sides were guilty of violations and both should suffer the consequences of their actions. But the U.S. House ignores the evidence and condemns the report only because of the charges against Israel. That this U.S. legislative body could accept and condone the brutal, horrific attacks on the Gaza civilian population is repulsive and an abdication of moral standards to those who support the cause of human rights.
On November 5, following a two-day debate in the UN General Assembly, 114 countries voted for the resolution to approve the report with 18 opposed -- including Germany, Israel and the United States -- and 44 abstaining, including Britain, France and Russia. China voted in favor. This resolution calls on Israel and "the Palestinian side" to undertake within three months credible investigations into the report's charges.
Next, the resolution will be presented to the UN Security Council for a vote to either adopt it or reject it. The Council has fifteen members, with five permanent members having the right to veto the resolution and defeat it. The permanent members are Russia, China, France, the UK and the U.S. It takes a vote of nine members to pass a resolution as long as there is no veto. Member abstentions are not considered a veto and will not the defeat of a resolution.
There are many UN observers that believe that there will be nine or more members who vote to adopt it and that the permanent members, with the exception of the U.S. would likely abstain. So the U.S. may end up being the only potential veto. The House has just made it very easy for President Obama to instruct our representative to veto the resolution and defeat it. If that happens, Israel will escape any kind of censure or sanctions and many nations looking for justice will be disappointed yet one more time.
Israel has developed a mindset over the years that it can do no wrong, that international laws have no jurisdiction over it; that's only for other nations of the world. That attitude has certainly not won them many friends or close allies. Our government may not realize it but we are actually doing the people of Israel a great disservice because each time we give Israel a pass by condoning their actions, we give their government more leeway to keep doing what they are doing.