A breach in Israel's wall of impunity: Goldstone's effect
by MainStreet, Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:55:08 AM EDT
Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times, and gives us some idea as to how the Goldstone Report is playing out one of Israel's Arab friends, Jordan. Not for long, given this essay by its UN representative.
"Israel's efforts to malign the reputation of Judge Richard Goldstone have failed to bury the UN inquiry he led. (Jean-Marc Ferre/UN Photo)" This statement is a caption to a photo of Judge Goldstone.
The Goldstone report into war crimes during Israel's massacres in Gaza last winter finally managed to cross its first major procedural hurdle as the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva (HRC) passed a resolution endorsing it on 16 October. The resolution called on "all concerned parties including United Nations bodies" to implement the report's recommendations -- which include trying Israeli leaders in international courts if Israel fails to do so -- and forwarding the report to the General Assembly for further action.
The US dismissed the resolution as being biased because it only criticized Israel -- and not Palestinian armed groups which are also accused in the Goldstone report of committing war crimes by firing rockets at Israel that killed three Israeli civilians. The US also did not like the fact that the HRC resolution included issues unrelated to Gaza, namely, Israel's aggressive expansion of settlements in occupied Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, the construction of the West Bank wall, interference with holy sites, and attempts to change the demographic character of Jerusalem.
But this focus was entirely appropriate because Hamas, unlike Israel, cooperated fully with the Goldstone report's preparation, and Hamas even said it would conduct investigations of Palestinian actions as the report demands. One may be skeptical of how credible those investigations would be, but Israel has not even gone that far. Hence, the resolution correctly condemned "the non-cooperation by the occupying power, Israel, with the independent international fact-finding mission," led by Goldstone.
The resolution was fully balanced in the sense that it placed matters back in their proper context: Israel is the "occupying power" and Palestinians are an occupied people. They are not equals.
They are not equals, indeed. Just how did Israel, a colonizing power which has been occupying the Palestinian territories for 42 years, and continues to confiscate Palestinian lands, ever become the victim in this conflict?
I know. Israeli propaganda is just that good, even going so far as to enlist our US State Department. But it has never been good enough to hoodwink the Europeans or the Arab world.