[HCCN] fw: a perspective on the Goldstone Report

Peter Robbins peter at robbinsandrobbins.com
Mon Nov 2 19:55:59 EST 2009






Published on Monday, November 2, 2009 by CommonDreams.org
Congress Should Not Reject the Goldstone Report

by Michael Ratner
On Tuesday, November 3, Congress is poised to vote on H.Res.867,  
which calls on the “President and the Secretary of State to oppose  
unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the `Report  
of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict' in  
multilateral fora.’ ”

The Resolution instructs the Obama Administration to prevent further  
consideration of the Goldstone Report (as it is informally known) in  
any international body.  For Congress to do so, without a hearing  
where Judge Goldstone can testify and based upon a Resolution rife  
with factual errors, makes a mockery of assertions by the United  
States that fundamental protections of human rights laws law apply  
equally to all. It leaves the United States, and especially Congress,  
without a thread of moral authority.

This Resolution is a rush to judgment. It is a rush to judgment made  
on the basis of serious factual errors and mischaracterizations of  
the Goldstone Report. The Goldstone Report documents in a  
dispassionate and even-handed manner “violations of international  
human rights and humanitarian law and possible war crimes and crimes  
against humanity” committed by all parties prior to, during, and  
after Israel’s assault on the occupied Gaza Strip in December 2008- 
January 2009.

The text of the Resolution is directly at odds with the actual  
mandate of the Fact-Finding Mission and its report. The Resolution  
asserts that the mandate of the Fact Finding Mission was aimed only  
at Israeli violations of the laws of war. This is a blatant lie.  In  
a letter to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Judge Goldstone  
states that the mandate  he “demanded and received clearly included  
rocket and mortar attacks on Israel and as the report makes clear was  
so interpreted and implemented.”

The Resolution claims that the Goldstone Report “repeatedly  
downplayed or cast doubt upon” allegations of Hamas committing war  
crimes.  In fact, however, it examined Palestinian militants rocket  
and mortar fire into Israel and concluded that “these attacks  
constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of  
southern Israel and that where there is no intended military target  
and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population,  
they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population.  
These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes  
against humanity.”

It is likewise with the spurious claim in the Resolution that the  
report “denied Israel the right to self-defense.” The Goldstone  
report examined the conduct of the party’s conduct of the war and  
not the right of Israel to use military force.  As Judge Goldstone  
said, “Israel’s right to use military force was not questioned.”

The United States provides $3 billion for weapons and military  
equipment every year to Israel. The Goldstone Report concluded  that  
“ grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by  
Israeli forces in Gaza: willful killing, torture or inhuman  
treatment, willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to  
body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified  
by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. ”    
In these circumstances the United States has a special responsibility  
to insure that serious investigations are undertaken of the use of  
the weapons it supplies. Congress should not be blocking such an  
investigation.

Michael Ratner, an attorney, is President of the Center for  
Constitutional Rights (organization for ID only). Contact your  
Congressperson asap (202-224-3121) to oppose the resolution. Endorse  
the Gaza Freedom March (see www.gazafreedommarch.org ).


Article printed from www.CommonDreams.org

URL to article: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/11/02-1
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