Friday, April 3, 2009

UN picks South African Jew to head Gaza war crimes inquiry

I'm testing my open mind with this post. Judging from the reaction to this news in the blogs I have read, I am not alone in struggling to remember that many Jews and Israeli's have serious problems with Israeli Government actions...and openly protest them...around the world.

I wouldn't be struggling so much if at least one member of the investigating team was also an Arab, or a Muslim or a Palestinian. In fact, given the history of unfairness toward Palestinians, I don't know why I am even required to keep trying...I feel pretty lame for doing so...but, here is the story:

Richard Goldstone, a South African Jewish judge, will head an international fact-finding mission into allegations of war crimes by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian militants in Gaza, the United Nations said on Friday.

The former war crimes prosecutor will head a four-member team whose mandate stems from a resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council at a special session on January 12.

"It is in the interest of all Palestinians and Israelis that the allegations of war crimes and serious human rights violations related to the recent conflict on all sides be investigated," Goldstone said in a statement.

Goldstone served as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Goldstone will investigate conduct by both sides in Israel's 22-day offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

According to a Palestinian rights group, 1,417 people including 926 civilians were killed in the fighting. Israel has disputed Palestinian claims that most of the people killed in the recent offensive in Gaza were civilians, stating that the vast majority of the dead were in fact Hamas militants. Thirteen Israelis were also killed in the hostilities.

"I am confident that the mission will be in a position to assess in an independent and impartial manner all human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the context of the [Gaza] conflict," the president of the Human Rights Council, Nigerian ambassador Martin Uhomoibhi, said in a statement.


  1. If the mission is not righteous, then, at the least it will be scrutinized.

    With many eyes, with waiting voices, and -hopefully- with an ear.

  2. This site has a lot of information that seems to have informed policy for Israel, and probably for the US, since the late 90's. The articles IMO explain why any Palestinian over 12 years old is considered fair game, as well as why the police academy was targeted during OCL, and why Nadia Matar was calling for the assassination of Mahmoud Abbas a couple of weeks ago. Enjoy.


  4. Thanks Margaret.
    I figured these guys existed, just didn't know who and where.

    Read a few articles/pages and now I can't sleep.

  5. A common reaction. I'll come back with some others, although I'm interested in what you come up with. Counter-insurgency is a major investment for the US, and I don't mean the just the government.

  6. I want to think that the policy supporting Obama's expansion of activity in Afghanistan is an invitation to individuals, citizens -if you will- to enlist and invest in our own interests. There is such a negative reaction from the gasping remaints of the the neo-con-liberal-conservative etc. groups that I question if we are getting a good range of response to it. I know Anti-War is down on it, and Counterpunch also. I also am aware of the concern of science being used against others rather than in support of all.

    (I tend to define my platform whenever I write, don't I.)

    I want to continue to see debate about what's going on. I don't support intervention, yet the movement of chaos seems toward a global economy, which perhaps renders such a perspective moot?

    A non-war perspective is important to me.

  7. I'm pretty sure there's a reference in the ICT to the Geneva Conventions guidelines on allowing ambulance activity within an on-going operation; that it wasn't allowed trespasses the spirit if not the statutes of the Conventions, I think.

    However, a 'just war' is an phrase without sense to me, and I'm trying to cultivate links with people who are knowledgeable about it for that reason.

  8. Thanks Margaret,
    I am struck by the brutality used by the strong upon the weak. I am struck by how the strong create mass hysteria and create lynch mobs, to further their ends.
    I am struck by the similarities with how the USA treated/treats/manipulates our own native population.

    I am beginning to ask one basic question before I react to anything.

    1. Does the "action" respect the native culture?
    This means their customs, religions, natural resources, etc.
    I have so far found no instance where there is respect.

  9. That establishes a good qualitative standard, doesn't it?

    The actions of individuals and nations need to be judged by such standards.