law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed
at any time in the context of the military operations that were
conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18
January 2009, whether before, during or after.” Pay attention to the words in italics, I shall be returning to them later.
The HRC’s official website further informs us that the appointment of the mission followed the adoption on 12 January 2009
of Resolution S-9/1 by the United Nations Human Rights Council at the
end of its 9th Special Session. Let us therefore examine Resolution S-9/1. It’s easy enough to do, just follow the link on the website. We thus discover that the subject of the resolution (proposed by the Arab, African and Islamic Bloc) is none other than "The grave violations of human rights in the
Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military
attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip". At the end of the resolution, the UN Human Rights Council " Decides to
dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be
appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by
the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied
Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the
current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of
investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission".
We see, therefore, that the "fact-finding" commission set out with the intention of finding Israel guilty. Its mandate was to investigate violations of international human rights law by Israel, and by Israel alone, with no mention of the violations of human rights law carried out by the Hamas terrorists who used schools, hospitals and UN buildings as launch sites for their Kassam rockets, thus turning "Palestinian" civilians into human shields (a war crime, under international law) in order to fire missiles at Israeli civilian targets (another war crime, under international law).
And while we’re on the subject – what’s all this about "the occupied Gaza Strip"? Occupied by who? Israel completely withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August 2005!!! So, who are the "occupiers" referred to in the Resolution? The only non-Palestinians there (I use the word "Palestinians" merely for the sake of convenience, as there is, in fact, no such nation and never has been) were the UN workers!
Now let’s take a look at the members of Judge Goldstone’s "Fact" Finding Mission.
Professor Christine Chinkin was one of the signatories to a letter published in the Sunday Times on January 11, 2009, condemning Israel and accusing her of war crimes. Two months later, she was drafted to the so-called "independent fact-finding mission". In any normal court of law, a judge who had voiced an opinion, in advance of the trial, as to the guilt or innocence of the defendant, would be expected to recuse him/herself. Prof. Chinkin, however, hadn’t the integrity to do so. Nor had Judge Goldstone, as head of the mission, the integrity to disqualify her, or to refuse to lend his name to a "fact" finding mission in which at least one of the members had already judged the case!
Ms. Hina Jilani is an advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Pakistan, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was one of the sponsors of the biased and one-sided resolution S-9/1. Now, while, admittedly, Ms. Jilani has not always seen eye to eye with the Pakistani Government, a representative from one of the countries which sponsored such a one-sided resolution (and that, on behalf of the Islamic Conference) is hardly a guarantee that justice will be done. I was always taught that "Justice must not only be done, it must be seen to be done." Furthermore, as early as October 11, 2005, Ms. Hini had already accused Israel of "depriving Palestinians of basic rights." Thus she too had already judged Israel guilty.
Next, we come to Col. Desmond Travers, who together with Richard Goldstone himself had, as early as March 16, 2009, signed an open letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, stating that gross violations of international law had been committed (albeit by both sides). Thus we see that his mind was already made up that Israel had committed "gross violations of international law". In fact, the same can be said – and for the same reasons – about the Commission leader, Richard Goldstone, himself. Furthermore, Goldstone has since accused Israel of not being interested at all in peace talks. In short, he is now revealing his true colours.
It is therefore painfully obvious that there was not one truly objective and unbiased member of the "Fact Finding Mission", not a single one of whom it could be said that he or she undertook the job with an open mind.
Let us now examine the breakdown of votes in favour of, or opposing, the decision of the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the findings of the Mission: 25 in favour, 6 against, 11 abstentions, 2 delegations were absent and 2 more, Britain and France, refused to participate in the vote. (I would call that an abstention, but apparently, there is a difference. I’m not sure what it is though.)
Of the 25 in favour of adopting the Report, 11 were Arab or Muslim countries, including the Palestinian Authority. I’m not sure how they got the right to vote, inasmuch as they are not a state, but even if they were – how come they get to vote on a subject in which they are a side to the conflict, while Israel does not??? Those countries supporting adoption of the Report included such beacons of human rights as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, Cuba, Nigeria and Russia. The latter was the only European country (if you can call her that) to support the adoption of the Report. Even the Ukraine voted against (I am cynical enough to wonder if this was maybe because Russia voted in favour) – in company with Italy, the Netherlands, Hungary, Slovakia and, of course, the United States.
So now, the Goldstone Report is to go before the Security Council of the United Nations, with the recommendation of the HRC that they too adopt the Report. Of course, in the Security Council, the US has a veto. I demand that they use it! Furthermore, I call upon France and Britain to add their own vetoes, Britain especially, in light of the declaration of Col. Richard Kemp CBE, former Commander of the British forces in Afghanistan, holder of the Queen’s Commendation for Bravery, a man who has served in Northern Ireland and in Bosnia, who stated,at the 12th Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council last Friday, October 16th: "Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say
this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more
to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other
army in the history of warfare."
Israel did all this, while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population. In short, Israel had no choice.
So, to Britain and to France, and to all those other countries who sat on the fence and abstained or, like the Cheshire Cat, disappeared and were absent at the moment of truth, I say this: If and when this iniquitous and biased Report comes before the UN Security Council, reject it. For once, do what is right, not what is expedient.
Those of you who have been regular followers of this blog will observe that Col. Kemp is saying what I have held all along. But for those of you who may think that as an Israeli, I cannot be objective, I will leave you with Col. Kemp’s own words. Remember them, for they are no more than the truth.
During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more
to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other
army in the history of warfare.
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