Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goldstone Report: Why Is Everyone Quoting The Same Imaginary Mandate?

When referring to the original resolution that provided the mandate for what came to be the Goldstone Commission, everyone is studiously avoiding quoting the original language of the resolution. And for good reason.

Original language:
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.
Now you can't have that kind of text being quoted all over the media and the Internet--there are enough issues of bias in connection with the Goldstone Commission Report as it is. So instead there is an amended version of the mandate that is being quoted:

Goldstone in Geneva
As you all know, the Mission was established in April of this year with the mandate to investigate "all violations of International Human Rights 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 from 27 December 2008 - 18 January 2009, whether before during or after"
Much better! Now, instead of investigating "all violations...due to the current aggression", the text reads that they are investigating violations that might have been committed in the context of the military operations. And of course, Israel is no longer the sole focus.
This change was informal, was not made in the original resolution, and was not done with the approval of a formal vote.
Of course, you would never know the language was changed--or what the original language of the resolution even was--based on the way interested parties are now quoting the resolution:

UN Press Release:(9/15)
The four members of the Mission* were appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council in April with a mandate to "To investigate all violations of international human rights 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."
-----

HRW (5/17)
"Justice Goldstone's mandate from the Human Rights Council is "to investigate all violations of International Human Rights 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 27 December 2008 to 18January 2009, whether before, during or after." Goldstone agreed to lead the Human Rights Council investigation only after the mandate was broadened to look into violations by all parties to the Gaza conflict and not only by Israel.
-----

UN HRC
On 3 April 2009, the President of the Human Rights Council established an international independent Fact Finding Mission with the mandate “to investigate all violations of international human rights 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.” [See press release of 3 April 2009 and transcript of press briefing] (the emphasis is theirs)
The relevant section also appears in quotes, implying that it is written down somewhere authoritative--so it appears that January 12 was the original resolution with the anti-Israel text, while April 3 was the establishment of the commission with the mission and new language.

So if we see the press release and the transcript of the press briefing on April 3, one might think that we would see that new text being quoted, right?

Wrong.

The press release of 3 April 2009 does not use that language:

"I am confident that the mission will be in a position to assess in an independent and impartial manner all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the context of the conflict which took place between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 and provide much needed clarity about the legality of the thousands of deaths and injuries and the widespread destruction that occurred", Ambassador Uhomoibhi stated.
Today's appointment comes following the adoption of a resolution by the Human Rights Council at the conclusion of its Special Session on 9 and 12 January convened to address "the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly due to the recent Israeli military attacks against the occupied Gaza Strip".[emphasis added]
Even during Goldstone's first Press Conference on April 3, he did not use the language that he would use later in Geneva


Transcript of Goldstone during his April 3 Press Conference:
There are substantial allegations of war crimes and serious violations of international human rights law having been committed before, during and after the military operations in Gaza between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009.
So what we have is the mandate of the Goldstone Commission, being repeated word-for-word by those backing the mission and appearing in quotes--while the actual mandate is worded very differently.

Apparently, the current text of the bandied about of the mandate was created out of thin air.
That kind of deception doesn't say much about the results of such a commission.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad
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