[News] Goldstone Report at the UN General Assembly

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 4 12:08:20 EST 2009

The Goldstone Report at the UN General Assembly: 
States Must Ensure Victims' Rights and Not Compromise the Rule of Law

Post • Nov 4th, 2009 at 13:55 •

Joint Press Release issued by Adalah ­Legal 
Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel * 
Addameeer  * Al Dameer Association for Human 
Rights * Al-Haq ­Law in the Service of Man * Al 
Mezan Centre for Human Rights * Arab Association 
for Human Rights * Badil Resource Center for 
Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights * 
Defence for Children International-Palestine 
Section * Ensan Center for Human Rights and 
Democracy * Jerusalem Legal Aid Center * 
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah 
Center for Human Rights Studies * Women's Center for Legal Aid and Counseling

Today, 4 November 2009, the General Assembly will 
meet to discuss the Report of the UN Fact Finding 
Mission  on the Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone 
Report).  A draft Resolution has been presented 
to the General Assembly for debate, and it is 
evident that those who claim to speak on behalf 
of human rights and international law are failing 
in their mandate. The draft Resolution is a 
politically motivated compromise, intended to 
obtain support for a Resolution without 
substance, one which fails to protect victims' 
rights or to pursue accountability. While the 
draft addresses certain demands, it does not 
explicitly include operational steps for the 
implementation of the Recommendations of the 
Goldstone Report, and absolutely fails to bring remedy and redress to victims.

There can be no compromise on the fundamental 
principles of human rights and international law. 
If international law is to prove capable of 
protecting civilian populations and of averting 
future atrocities, then it must be enforced. Each 
individual's basic human right to equal 
protection of the law and to an effective 
judicial remedy must be ensured. Those accused of 
committing international crimes must be investigated, tried, and prosecuted.

In supporting this draft the PLO are following 
the traditional policy of attempting to secure a 
Resolution by consensus. Too often have the 
rights of Palestinians been negotiated away in 
order to provide the  appearance of political 
progress, and too often has progress manifested 
itself as mere maintenance of the status quo, 
which for decades has denied Palestinians their fundamental rights.

Impunity must not be allowed to prevail. 
International law, and the respect for the 
fundamental human rights of peoples throughout 
the world, must not be subject to the whim of 
powerful States. As Palestinians and 
representatives of the victims we demand justice, 
and the possibility of a peaceful future.

The General Assembly must request that the 
Security Council not only consider the Goldstone 
Report, but also implement its recommendations. 
Domestic investigations are essential; however, 
if these are not conducted credibly and in 
accordance with international standards ­“as past 
experience would suggest is the likelihood ­ then 
the consequences must be clear. Should attempts 
be made to shield alleged war criminals from 
justice, then the Security Council must take 
appropriate action, and the situation just be 
referred to the International Criminal Court.

It is also essential that, as recommended in the 
Goldstone Report, the General Assembly act now to 
ensure reparations for the victims of Operation 
Cast Lead. It is unacceptable that the illegal 
blockade of the Gaza Strip continues to this day 
and that reconstruction and recovery have been 
denied. The General Assembly must establish an 
escrow fund to handle reparations owed to the 
victims by Israel, and act to end this illegal 
blockade. The continued suffering of innocent 
civilians cannot be condoned by the United Nations.

At the Human Rights Council in September, the 
political vacillation of the PLO, the 
anti-accountability agenda of some of the most 
powerful UN member states, and a callous 
disregard for the victims of Operation Cast Lead 
saw the first attempt to bury the Goldstone 
Report. As the representatives of the 
Palestinians at the UN the PLO must ensure a 
second attempt is not successful, and must 
re-focus its efforts towards ensuring that a 
Resolution fully endorsing the Goldstone Report 
and its detailed recommendations be adopted by a 
majority of the General Assembly; a 'consensus' 
Resolution will effectively nullify the decision 
of the Human Rights Council's Special Session, 
repudiate the rule of international law, and 
implicitly endorse further impunity for those who target civilians.

Palestinians do not want to be part of a 
consensus that buries the Goldstone Report, and 
denies victims' legitimate rights. Palestinians 
should neither be forced to negotiate on the 
Recommendations of the Goldstone Report, nor to 
compromise their fundamental rights under 
international law. It is essential ­at the risk 
of condoning impunity and the  commission of 
future international crimes ­ that the General Assembly:

a) fully endorse the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict;
b) urge the Security Council to endorse the 
Report, and to expeditiously pursue all 
accountability mechanisms presented therein; 
particularly a referral to the International 
Criminal Court in the absence of good faith 
investigations by the parties to the conflict;
c) demand that credible internal domestic 
investigations and prosecutions be carried out by 
the parties to the conflict in accordance with 
international standards of impartiality, 
independence, promptness and effectiveness;
d) establish of an independent committee of 
experts in international humanitarian and human 
rights law to monitor any domestic legal or other 
proceeding taken by the parties of the conflict 
and publicly report to the UNGA and Security Council;
e) remain fully appraised of the matter until 
appropriate action is taken at the domestic or 
international level in order to ensure justice 
for victims and accountability for perpetrators;
f) establish an escrow fund for the purpose of 
compensating the victims of violations of 
international law committed during Operation Cast Lead;
g) request Switzerland to convene a conference of 
the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to ensure its respect;
h) promote an urgent discussion on the use of 
munitions such as white phosphorous (as mentioned 
in the Report), and a moratorium on their use by Israel.

Ashkenazi: “Next Battle Likely In Gaza”


  Wednesday November 04, 2009 01:30
 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies

Israeli Army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, 
stated Tuesday that he believes a new war in Gaza 
is nearing, and that the army is readying to 
target Qassam launching pads, located in densely 
populating areas in the Gaza Strip.

He said that the army could be fighting in 
cities, mosques, hospitals, schools and even 
kindergartens and added that "the enemies want to force us to fight this way".

His statements came during a graduation ceremony 
for army cadets, and were aired by the Israeli Radio.

Meanwhile, the Hamas movement in Gaza said that 
the Israeli statements regarding Hamas’ 
successful tests on news “missiles’ clearly prove 
that Israel is trying to divert world attention from the Goldstone report.

Fawzi Barhoum, spokesperson of Hamas, said that 
the statements of Ashkenazi were made in an 
attempt to justify war crimes against humanity in 
Gaza, and could as well be meant to justify future crimes.

Israeli Military Intelligence Chief, Amos Yedlin, 
claimed that Hamas is trying to obtain more 
weapons and missiles, and that it successfully 
tested an Iranian missile that could hit Tel 
Aviv, 60 kilometers (27.28 Miles) away.

He added that during the war on Gaza earlier this 
year, Hamas fighters fired shells that managed to 
hit targets 45 kilometers (27.9 Miles) away.

Yedlin also claimed Hamas obtained Iranian 
missiles, similar to those obtained by Hezbollah, 
and that the missiles were likely smuggled through the tunnels.

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