In a startling shift, the Palestinian delegation to the United Nations Human Rights Council dropped its efforts to forward a report accusing Israel of possible war crimes to the Security Council, under pressure from the United States, diplomats said Thursday.
The Americans argued that pushing the report now would derail the Middle East peace process that they are trying to revive, diplomats said.
“We don’t want to create an obstacle for them,” Ibrahim Khraishi, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said by telephone from Geneva, where the Human Rights Council is based. “We want to get a strong resolution to deal with the report in a good manner to get a benefit from it.”
The report — produced by a panel of investigators led by an internationally respected jurist, Richard Goldstone — found extensive evidence that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups took actions amounting to war crimes during the Gaza war last winter. Israel says that it acted only to halt missile fire from Gaza that terrorized Israeli civilians. [continued…]
Just when it seemed that the Ramallah Palestinian Authority (PA) and its leader Mahmoud Abbas could not sink any lower in their complicity with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the murderous blockade of Gaza, Ramallah has dealt a further stunning blow to the Palestinian people.
The Abbas delegation to the United Nations in Geneva (officially representing the moribund Palestine Liberation Organization) abandoned a resolution requesting the Human Rights Council to forward Judge Richard Goldstone’s report on war crimes in Gaza to the UN Security Council for further action. Although the PA acted under US pressure, there are strong indications that the commercial interests of Palestinian and Gulf businessmen closely linked to Abbas also played a part.
The 575-page Goldstone report documents evidence of shocking Israeli war crimes and crimes against humanity during last winter’s assault on the Gaza Strip which killed 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority noncombatants and hundreds of them children. The report also accuses the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas of war crimes for firing rockets into Israel that killed three civilians. [continued…]
Israel should thank Judge Richard Goldstone and his commission’s important report. After subjecting him to useless, automatic mudslinging, Israel suddenly realized that it should finally investigate the events of Operation Cast Lead. Why? What happened? The ground has started to tremble under the feet of a number of Israeli statesmen and officers.
That, it turns out, is the only way to teach us a lesson. Goldstone held up a mirror to us; we tried to smash it, as is our wont, but this time, as opposed to earlier reports, smashing it did not work. Suddenly it was reported (and denied) that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has asked former Supreme Court president Aharon Barak to head an investigative committee, suddenly the head of Military Intelligence is calling for the adoption of the “ethics code” composed by Prof. Asa Kasher, and suddenly Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an urgent meeting to discuss establishing an investigative committee.
What happened? Again, it turns out, everything is personal. It is also too little, too late: An “investigative committee” is not enough, nor is the ethics code written by Kasher, who told Maariv a few days ago that the Gazan doctor Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish was responsible for the deaths of his daughters. And yet it’s good the ground has started to quake under our feet. [continued…]