Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Goldstone Report: Protector Of (Palestinian) Women

As I have written before, it is important to stress that the flaws of the Goldstone Commission Report extend far beyond the usual anti-Israel bias, such as is clearly evident in the creation of the report and throughout the Report itself.

We need to call attention to the errors in the Goldstone Commission Report itself and conclusions that are clearly wrong--and in some cases just plainly outlandish beyond belief.

An example of this is the amateurish attempt in the Goldstone Report to accuse the IDF of discrimination against women--an example that is covered in CAMERA's must-read indictment of the Report: The Goldstone Report: A Study in Duplicity.

Paragraph 937 and 938 of the Report assert:
The right to adequate food is also reflected in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which requires State parties to guarantee to women “adequate nutrition during pregnancy and lactation.”

The Mission finds that, as a result of its actions to destroy food and water supplies and infrastructure, Israel has violated ... article 12 (2) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
This interpretation of the Convention is, prima facie, a travesty of the Convention's intent. The first article of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women defines "discrimination against women" as

any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. (emphasis added)

The idea that Israel's strikes on food and water-related infrastructure, or anything else in Gaza, were "made on the basis of sex" in order to specifically distinguish, exclude or restrict women from their right to equality is simply outlandish.

The Commission's interpretation of international law (specifically, its questionable insistence that Gaza should still be considered "occupied" even after Israel had fully withdrawn its military and citizens from the territory) helps it to level such charges against Israel but not against Palestinians. But based on the Report's interpretation of what the Convention deems "discrimination against women," there would clearly be Palestinian violations.

For example, in the same way that damage to food infrastructure can be (however loosely) interpreted as discrimination against women's right to nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, as the report argues, Palestinian rocket attacks into Sderot and other towns, which kept people in doors and away from playgrounds, would be a violation of the right for women "to participate in recreational activities" described in the convention. Considering the damage Palestinian rocket attacks have done to homes in southern Israel, these attacks would also violate of the right of women "to enjoy adequate living conditions, particularly in relation to housing...." Needless to say, though, the Report refrained from suggesting that Hamas's rocket attacks against Israel constituted discrimination against women.

This lack of professionalism in the application of law is not limited to this one case, and exemplifies once again the sloppiness that is evident throughout the Report.

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1 comment:

ValeriusS. said...

Here's a useful link on how Palestinians are going to cash in on Goldstone report: