Monday, October 5, 2009

Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war

It is hard to describe our emotions in the past three days in Palestine since we heard of the Palestinian "leadership" withdrawal of the discussions at the UN Human Rights Council about the Goldstone report.  Can those who made the decision look straight in the eyes of the families of the 400 children butchered in Gaza and tell them that this was politically necessary because Hillary Clinton asked them to do it (the same administration that failed to even get the rapist to have a short pause in his rape!)? And will the rest of us (and yes each of us is responsible) be able to look into these same eyes and tell them we were satisfied with expressing sympathy and uttering words? Who decreed that popular civil action cannot be directed at those who harm the cause and happen to also be Palestinian?  Will our shame, anger and revulsion be NOW moved to civil action?  Will we really have a democratic civil society or one ruled by a clique of elites? Will decent people in Fateh stand-up to correct this trend? Will we say enough is enough and this was the straw that broke the camel's back?


Mazin Qumsiyeh

A Bedouin in cyberspace, a villager at home  The Christian Science Monitor


Palestinians drop endorsement of Goldstone report on Gaza war

The US reportedly convinced the Palestinian Authority to withdraw its backing in order to advance the peace process. Israel had said the Goldstone report would severely damage peace talks.

By Arthur Bright

posted October 02, 2009 at 8:44 am EST


Haaretz reports that the US convinced the Palestinian Authority not to back the report, which was commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council and issued last month by Judge Richard Goldstone of South Africa, in order to further the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.


[A political source in Jerusalem said] that the decision appears to be based on pressure from the Obama administration, exerted by way of U.S. representatives in Geneva, as well as through contacts between Washington and Ramallah.

The Obama administration has told the Palestinians that a renewal of the peace process must come before any diplomatic initiatives based on the Goldstone report, or any other initiatives that could stifle efforts to renew Israel-PA negotiations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated in recent days that efforts to use the Goldstone report to advance anti-Israel measures in the Human Rights Council or the International Tribunal in The Hague will deal a death blow to the peace process.


The BBC notes however that some PA officials have denied that the group has withdrawn its endorsement of the Goldstone report.


The Christian Science Monitor reported that the Goldstone report, issued on Sept. 15, found "strong evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity" by both the Israel Defense Force and Hamas's fighters during the fighting in December and January, which left some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead. At least several hundred of the Palestinians killed were civilians, but human rights groups and the Israeli army disagree over the exact numbers.


Reuters writes that Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi said that the PA still intended to return to the issue at UN Human Rights Council in March, but that its deferral of endorsement would further the peace process.


The Council had been due to vote on Friday on a resolution that would have condemned Israel's failure to cooperate with a U.N. war crimes investigation led by Richard Goldstone, and forwarded his report to the Security Council.


But Pakistan, speaking for Arab, Islamic, and African sponsors of a resolution, formally asked the forum to defer action on their text until the next regular session in March.


This would "give more time for a broad-based and comprehensive consideration" of the report, Pakistan's envoy Zamir Akram told the 47-member-state forum.


The Associated Press writes that the Goldstone report has put Israel on the back foot, as it may encourage war-crime prosecutions of Israeli officials abroad. This week, British activists pushed for the arrest of visiting Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.


"The (Goldstone) report clearly says those war crimes should be properly investigated, and that if Israel fails to investigate, that other courts could," said Tayab Ali, one of the lawyers representing 16 Palestinian families in the Barak case in London.


"How much higher do you need to go than the United Nations to establish that war crimes occurred?" | Copyright © 2009 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.


Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *


As human rights organisations we strongly condemn the Palestinian leaderships’ decision to defer the proposal endorsing all the recommendations of the Fact Finding Mission, and the pressure exerted by certain members of the international community. Such pressure is in conflict with States international obligations, and is an insult to the Palestinian people.


PNGO condemns PA request of delaying endorsement of Goldstone recommendations

PNGO expresses its bewilderment and strongly condemns the Palestinian Authority’s withdrawal of its draft resolution supporting the recommendations contained in the Goldstone Report, resulting in a deferral of a vote to endorse the report in the Human Rights Council to March 2010. The report suggests that war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity were committed by the Israeli military during its 23-day offensive in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009.

PNGO considers that this move by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is an insult to the victims of Operation Cast Lead, and actively facilitates the ongoing impunity of suspected Israeli war criminals; while the siege on Gaza enters its 28th month, Israeli military attacks on the Palestinian population are ongoing and settlement expansion in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, continues unabated. PNGO is shocked at the suggestion by the PA that accountability for the victims in Gaza could adversely affect the peace process.

PNGO asks Palestinian political parties to immediately adopt a clear position about the PA decision and to request from the PA a public explanation. This decision has triggered embarrassment and disappointment among Palestinians and activists in the international community, who have made efforts to bring perpetrators of war crimes in Gaza to justice. The Palestinian Authority has wasted an important opportunity towards ensuring accountability of the State of Israel for their war crimes and human rights violations.

In the words of Justice Goldstone at the presentation of his report at the HRC on 29 September: "This is the time for action. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."

The Palestinian NGOs Network(PNGO)

Tel: +972-2-2975320/1
Fax: +972-2-2950704



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