Al Jazeera: The UN's Goldstone report has been in the headlines in the past few weeks - not without controversy - and has brought to light the conduct of the Israelis and Hamas during the war on Gaza earlier in the year. Does the OIC see this as a step forward in recognising what transpired during that war and in bringing the plight of the Palestinians to the fore on an international scale?On December 4, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, went a step further in revealing the origins of the Goldstone Report:
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu: Let me first start by completing the story of the history of the Goldstone report. What I would like to put on record is that the OIC was the initiator of this process.
On January 3, during the attacks on Gaza, we convened the executive committee of the OIC on a ministerial level. It was decided that the OIC group in Geneva should ask the Human Rights Council to convene and consider the possibility of sending a fact-finding mission to Gaza.
The Prosecutor also fielded questions about allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity by Israel. When asked, he offered no confirmation of reports that he had been invited by Hamas to advise on the legality of a Hamas-led investigation into attacks in Gaza this January. But, he admitted to working closely with the Arab League on the matter, which had helped finance the fact-finding Goldstone mission.This of course explains the mandate given by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which targeted Israel alone, in language implying the conclusion the report was supposed to find:
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.
Although Judge Richard Goldstone has implied that the mandate is actually unbiased:
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"the fact remains that the original language is the official formulation of the mandate, which was never formally changed or put to an official vote.
Not surprisingly, once Goldstone had carried out the intended mission of the UNHRC, the language expressed in their endorsement of the report was the same language used in the 'original' mandate--condemning only Israel, in the strongest terms--with no mention of Hamas in the entire report:
Strongly condemns all policies and measures taken by Israel, the occupying Power, including those limiting access of Palestinians to their properties and holy sites particularly in Occupied East Jerusalem, on the basis of national origin, religion, sex, age or any other discriminatory ground, which are in grave violation of the Palestinian People's civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights;Furthermore, Elder of Ziyon simply and graphically illustrates how the Goldstone Report practically ignores Hamas in its conclusion--and The Washington Post notes:
2. Condemns further the recent violations of human rights by Israel in Occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the confiscation of lands and properties, the demolishing of houses and private properties, the construction and expansion of settlements, the continuous construction of the separation Wall, changing the demographic and geographic character of East Jerusalem, the restrictions on the freedom of movement of the Palestinian citizens of East Jerusalem, as well as the continuous digging and excavation works in and around Al-Aqsa mosque and its vicinity;
3. Demands Israel, the occupying Power, to respect the religious and cultural rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory as provided for in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the core international human rights instruments, the Hague Conventions, and the Geneva Conventions, and to allow Palestinian citizens and worshippers unhindered access to their properties and religious sites therein;
4. Also demands that Israel, the occupying Power, immediately cease all digging and excavation works and activities beneath and around Al-Aqsa Mosque and its vicinity, and refrain from any acts or operations that may endanger the structure or foundations or change the nature of holy sites both Christian and Islamic in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem;
5. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, pursuant to resolution S-9/1 of 12 January 2009 and in the context of her periodic reports, to monitor, document and report on the state of implementation by Israel, the occupying Power, of its human rights obligations in and around East Jerusalem;
The Goldstone commission proceeded to make a mockery of impartiality with its judgment of facts. It concluded, on scant evidence, that 'disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy' by Israel. At the same time it pronounced itself unable to confirm that Hamas hid its fighters among civilians, used human shields, fired mortars and rockets from outside schools, stored weapons in mosques, and used a hospital for its headquarters, despite abundant available evidence.
Keep in mind, as the Washington Post noted, that the concern of the Arab World for human rights is decidedly one-sided:
it was interesting to see what else was in the latest statement issued by the kings, princes and authoritarian presidents of the Middle East and North Africa. First there was a call on "the international community to prosecute those responsible" for alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel in its recent offensive in Gaza. Then came an ardent defense of Sudanese dictator Omar Hassan al-Bashir -- who was welcomed to the Doha summit despite an outstanding arrest warrant from the International Criminal Court on multiple war crimes charges.The condemnation of the Gaza War by the Arab World is obviously more interested in slamming Israel than in protecting the lives of Gazans--and the same attitude applies to other countries as well.
"We stress our solidarity with Sudan and our rejection of the decision" of the ICC, said the communique, which Mr. Bashir welcomed in a bombastic address to the summit plenary.
For example, take a look at the reaction of the UN Human Rights Council to the conclusion of the the bloody war of the Sri Lankan government with the Tamil Tigers--which commends the government with no mention of any condemnation whatsoever. It was not until October that it was possible to work around the Arab bloc and finally address the need for a Goldstone-style report on what happened there.
The glaring lack of objectivity naturally goes way beyond bias, resulting in actual errors of both fact and law, as detailed by a number of sites--and contrary to the absurd claim by both Goldstone and Col. Desmond Travers that criticism of the report does not touch upon its actual content.
- Trevor Norwitz's Open Letter to Judge Goldstone
- CAMERA's A Formal Letter to Judge Goldstone
- CAMERA's The Goldstone Report: A Study in Duplicity
- Israel's The Operation in Gaza: Factual and Legal Aspects
- Israel's Initial Response to Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza
Technorati Tag: The Goldstone Report.