Thursday, October 22, 2009

Goldstone to critics - "Read the report!"

Here is a video interview that everyone that cares about the loathsome Israeli attack on Gaza should watch. Richard Goldstone, apparently tired of baseless criticism in the world press, has granted an interview to Al Jazeera to defend the UN sponsored report that bears his name.

And here is the companion article from Al Jazeera, which I have quoted in full.
Goldstone dares US on Gaza report

Richard Goldstone, the jurist who authored a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, has challenged the US to justify its claims that his findings are flawed and biased.

Goldstone told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he had not heard from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, about the flaws Washington claims to have identified in the report.

"I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are. I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are," Goldstone said.

"The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza [by Hamas], but said that the report was flawed."

'Personal attack'

Goldstone said the attacks on him had become personal and that he believed most critics had not even read the report.

"I've no doubt, many of the critics - the overwhelmingly majority of critics - have not read the report," he said.

"And, you know, what proves that, I think, is that the level of criticism does not go to the substance of the report.

"There still have not been responses to the really serious allegations that are made. People generally don't like to be accused of criminal activity.

"So it didn't surprise me that there was criticism, even strong criticism, and it has come from both sides."

Goldstone said he regretted the "extremes from which some of the criticism has come and the fact that it has been so personal".

The remarks follow US criticism of the report, which it says is one-sided.

The US was among countries which voted against a UN human rights council resolution on the report passed in Geneva by 25 votes to six with 11 countries abstaining.

The Goldstone report also accuses Hamas, the Palestinian faction in control of Gaza, of war crime violations, but it reserved most of its criticism for Israel.

Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza between last December and January killed about 1,400 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children, and 13 Israelis.

Israel said it attacked the coastal territory to stop Hamas fighters firing rockets into southern Israel.
Goldstone says at the end of the interview that if Israel does not respond with a credible investigation of allegations of war crimes, then the issue should be further investigated by some international body. He does not come right out and say it, but clearly the implication is that the Israeli government and its leaders would be brought before the International Criminal Court.

In Goldstone's own words, "I think that's where it's going. If they don't have a good faith internal investigation, this thing's not going to lie down and die. It's going to continue."

Here is a description of the International Criminal Court from its own website.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, namely genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The ICC is based on a treaty, joined by 110 countries.

The ICC is a court of last resort. It will not act if a case is investigated or prosecuted by a national judicial system unless the national proceedings are not genuine, for example if formal proceedings were undertaken solely to shield a person from criminal responsibility. In addition, the ICC only tries those accused of the gravest crimes.

In all of its activities, the ICC observes the highest standards of fairness and due process. The jurisdiction and functioning of the ICC are governed by the Rome Statute.
From this description it becomes even more clear just what is at stake for the government of Israel and its leaders. Now you can understand why Israel is pushing back so hard on the Goldstone report. Israel has a choice. It can either do its own investigation which must lead to the prosecution of the responsible parties, or the case will be brought to trial at the ICC. There are no other alternatives under international law.

Which is why Israel has now gone to the irrational extreme of demanding a change in international law ex post facto. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Gideon Levy weighs in from Israel

I highly suggest reading the new article by the famed Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. Here are a few excerpts from his article in Haaretez titled "Israel's attacks will lead to its isolation".
Dividing the world up between absolute good and evil - our side and our enemies, with no middle ground - is a sign of despair and a complete loss of direction. It's not just our ambassador in Washington, who knows nothing at all about democracy and pluralism and only wants to please his masters. Such behavior - kicking and barking crazily in every direction - is destroying Israel.

Without giving us a chance to voice our opinion, Israel is falling to the status of an international pariah, the abomination of the nations. And whom can we thank for that? Operation Cast Lead, for example. Only the United States remains our automatic and blind ally for all our mistakes. Another democracy that saw its status deteriorating so much would ask itself first and foremost what mistakes it had made.
Any legitimate criticism is immediately labeled here as anti-Semitism, including Richard Goldstone, the Jewish Zionist. We are pushing everyone into a corner roughly and hope they will change their opinions and suddenly be filled with a deep understanding for the killing of children in Gaza. Now America too, even its Jews, are no longer immune to this aggressive Israel mad with grandeur.
The killers of the children of Gaza must be punished. Justice demands it. And so do the spirits of those innocent children.

Related posts

No comments: