UN-HRC endorses Goldstone; Netanyahu’s over-reach unraveling?

The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today endorsed the report of the Goldstone Commission that identified probable war crimes and and crimes against humanity committed by Israel and by some Palestinian armed groups during last winter’s Israeli assault on Gaza.
That report from AFP tells us that,

    25 of the council’s 47 members, led by the Arab and African states, voted for the resolution. Six, including the United States, voted against while 16 others either abstained or did not vote.
    The resolution calls for the endorsement of “the recommendations contained in the report” produced by a fact-finding mission led by international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone to probe the 22-day conflict.
    It also “calls upon all concerned parties including United Nations bodies, to ensure their implementation.”

It was tragic that the US voted against the HRC resolution. However, it seems likely the Goldstone report will now be considered by the Security Council at the session it will be holding on the matter next week.
The world– and especially perhaps the majority-Muslim countries of the world– will be watching closely to see that the US does not cast a veto there.
The fact that the HRC took up the Goldstone report once again, and that it endorsed its main findings and recommendations, marks a double setback for Israel’s current, extremely rightwing government, which had fought tooth and nail to quash or bury it.
In the first instance, the HRC’s decision to take up the report once again this week was due to the fact that the PLO leadership of Mahmoud Abbas, which ten days took its own– quite clearly Israel-spurred– action to bury the report, was forced by the overwhelming strength of Palestinian public opinion to reverse that policy.
In the second instance, the fact that the report won such strong endorsement in the HRC marked a notable setback for the campaign Netanyahu waged against it there.
Netanyahu and his coalition partners– many of whom are even more extreme than he is– have been riding high in recent weeks. They had completely bypassed all the efforts of the Obama administration to win a freeze on the construction of new (illegal) Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem and the rest of the occupied West Bank. They had persuaded Obama to force Abbas into a humiliating three-way meeting along with Netanyahu and Obama, despite Abbas’s previously oft-stated refusal to meet with Netanyahu in the absence of a settlement freeze. The actions of extremist, government-backed Israeli settler organizations to penetrate, settle, and excavate deep inside areas of Palestinian East Jerusalem were accelerating full-steam ahead.
Oh, Netanyahu must have been feeling so happy… Especially at his ability to keep the Obama administration completely off his back.
Not so fast, Mr. Netanyahu.
Right now, Pres. Obama and his most senior military and diplomatic advisers are meeting in prolonged, solemn session to reach some extremely serious decisions about the deployment of reinforcements for, and the mounting threats to, the many scores of thousands of US and allied troops who are deployed deep into the heart of many very distant portions of the Muslim world.
And Netanyahu, the prime minister of a small country of some seven million citizens, thinks his government’s interest in colonial expansion should necessarily trump the rights of the Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank and Gaza, the strong concern that the world’s more than one billion Muslims have in the wellbeing of Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem, and the safety and security of the US and allied troops who are deployed throughout the Muslim world?
He’s been dreaming– and pursuing– some dreams that are extremely hazardous to international peace and stability.
But now, there are some signs that the extent of Netanyahu’s colonialist over-reach is becoming more clear, including to decisionmakers here in Washington; and that it may, finally, be meeting its limits here.
In one of my early reactions to the Goldstone report last month, I noted that many of the folks who have wanted to bury or set aside Goldston’s recommendations about winning accountability for past actions in Gaza said they wanted to do so “in the interests of peacemaking; that is, the interests of the future rather than the past.”
However, I also noted that Gaza’s 1.45 million people face conditions of horrendous inhumanity and stress in the present; and that those conditions continue, day by day by day.
The prime interest of everyone concerned about relieving suffering in the Israeli-Palestinian theater should therefore surely be on lifting Israel’s quite inhumane siege of Gaza. A siege that is, as Godlstone noted, itself an instance of quite illegal collective punishment.
I gather that last night, at a dinner hosted by the American Task Force on Palestine, Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. Jim Jones, told attendees that “All three of the crossings between Israel and Gaza should be opened.” (HT: Gene Bird)
Those are the crossings through which goods, and a small number of people, flow. Since it is still, under international law, the occupying power in Gaza, Israel has direct responsibility for the wellbeing– we could even say, the normal human flourishing– of the residents of Gaza. So obviously, those gates should be opened.
Winter approaches, but the Gazans haven’t been able even to rebuild their homes, businesses, and basic infrastructure after the destruction Israel wrought last winter.
Gen. Jones can tell an audience that “the gates should be opened.” But the US government continues to provide immense, and in many fields quite unequalled, benefits to the government of Israel– in the military, economic, diplomatic, and many other arenas.
So when will we see the Obama administration start to apply some strict accountability to Israel’s government regarding lifting the siege of Gaza?
Deeds, not words, please. On all aspects of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and the protection of Palestinian– along with Israeli– rights.

44 thoughts on “UN-HRC endorses Goldstone; Netanyahu’s over-reach unraveling?

  1. Craig

    That the US voted against the HRC resolution was a fairly loud “F— you” to the entire Muslim world from the Obama administration, but it’s nothing compared to a veto at the Security Council. If the US vetoes, it will be concrete proof that Obama’s pretty words in Cairo meant nothing.

  2. Michael W.

    So the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission, no way.

  3. Derick Schilling

    This vote might have some legitimacy if the UNHRC sent Mr. Goldstone off to investigate civilian deaths in Chechnya and Sri Lanka, and if the Islamic countries cared half as much about the Sudan, or about the mass murder of Muslims by various jihadist groups, as they do about Israel and the Palestinians. As is, it is an exercise in hypocrisy, and a sad reminder of how much of the world’s attention is taken up with a gutter politics of lies, hysteria, and hatred regarding the State of Israel and its Jewish population.

  4. chrisx

    The vote breakdown according to Aljazeera.net
    For: Argentina, Brazil, China, Russia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Chile, Cuba, Djbouti, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia
    Against: US, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine
    Abstentions: Belgium, Bosnia, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia and Uruguay
    No vote: UK, France, Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan and Angola
    As long as the US and Europeans are in power, Israel can sleep well.

  5. the truth

    The world– and especially perhaps the majority-Muslim countries of the world– will be watching closely to see that the US does not cast a veto there.
    ————
    Helena, you’ve got to be kidding! Everyone knows the US will cast a veto there. You really think anyone is on the edge of their seat?

  6. B L Canary

    There can be no more serious investigation than this. As a Jew, and a Herzl Zionist, I have the right to know what the government of Israel has done in my name.
    If Israeli soldiers killed three hundred children, I want to know exactly why, for there is no obvious reason to kill children except in genuine self-defense.
    I do not want to be fobbed-off with vague mutterings of ‘human shields’ and ‘threats to our forces’.
    If Israel has a professional army, then I want to know precisely why they killed hundreds of civilians in three bloody weeks.
    I want to know if those troops are masochistic automatons, or if they are genuine forces for the defense of Israel.
    I and others want to know and want to know soon. Otherwise, Israel will become a pariah state that will only be rehabilitated by the voluntary production of those responsible to be judged innocent or guilty before an international court.

  7. Salah

    Helena,
    Was and other US citizen moved and believed that democrats will change US, although there is just two parties they swapping power in US.
    For the last 60 years here in Middle East People suffering from successive US administration with their full, blind support of terrorist state that state never stopping their genocide, terrorist, war crimes for decades and when the other good will countries come to agree to stop this spoiled monster state in ME, we found US jumping with full power of her VETO to shuts all the voices of those people who believes in injustices.
    Awhile ago I did comment when Helena was in her ultimate believes and happiness that Obama will be the best, my comment was deleted shortly afterward.
    Anyway, here we go we need to wait for US VETO, not long will be soon and definite said the representative of Israel at the UN, Gabriela Shalev on Radio Israel.

    “The Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged that the United States will veto a … Richard Goldstone, said the representative of Israel at the UN, ….
    So, Helen do you still have hope in your new administration?
    The invasion and occupation of Iraq telling loudly how US “the free world” do in name of democracy and freedom by putting gangs and thugs in power hide behind them, isn’t Helena?
    Millions of Iraqis still is suffering in their living, suffering of injustice war on their land and resource.
    Shame on you every Americans

  8. Salah

    Amnesty International reminds states party to the 1949 Geneva Conventions of their individual responsibility for ensuring accountability by exercising universal jurisdiction in initiating criminal investigations in national courts, where there is sufficient admissible evidence of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.

    The organization believes that accountability for serious violations international law is an essential component of the process for establishing a just and lasting peace in the region.

  9. Jack

    There is no question but that the US will veto any SC resolution if they are unsuccessful in their usual gambit of derailing any action. The fraud that the Goldstone report will hamstring “peace negotiations” is as absurd as the notion that we should not hold Bush era operatives and their controllers, all the way up, responsible for torture. Obama has a real “don’t rock the boat” hangup. He is already the biggest disappointment since Bill Clinton (actually a bigger disappointment to those of us who believed in him (or did we just read our own wishes into the blank slate he presented?)).

  10. John Francis Lee

    There you have it. Craven cowards in the West, the ancien regime, in support of Israeli War Crimes and China and the New World Order just saying no to Israeli intimidation.
    Obama stooge will veto anything that comes of it.
    Right now, Pres. Obama and his most senior military and diplomatic advisers are meeting in prolonged, solemn session to reach some extremely serious decisions about the deployment of reinforcements for, and the mounting threats to, the many scores of thousands of US and allied troops who are deployed deep into the heart of many very distant portions of the Muslim world.
    If Obama stooge were interested in peace on earth he would order the US Mediterranean fleet to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. He would order the Seabees to bring relief to the victims of Israeli War Crimes, to help them build some semblance of human existence in Palestine’s Gaza Province.
    But Obama stooge is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, like Henry Kissinger. So he will instead arm Israel for further depredations against the Palestinians of Gaza and for bunker-busting aggression in Iran, as he maintains the occupation of Iraq and escalates aggression in Afghanistan.

  11. bevin

    This may indeed be an unravelling: the sentiment favouring Israel in the ‘International Community’ is now about three quarters of a mile wide and half an inch deep. As we can see, from the list of countries which co-operated with the US in the UN, worms are beginning to turn.
    Israel’s fascists have put all their bets on being able to bend the US around their little fingers, but the US is no longer the hyper-power it seemed to be. A few hundred irregulars in Afghanistan and Iraq have strained its real military resources to breaking point: most of its vast armoury is of no use on the brighter side of Armageddon.
    And anyone who ever doubted that, saw it proved by Israel in the Gaza where, after raining down death for three weeks it ended up greatly weakened.
    How weakened we are now starting to see, as formerly friendly powers, like Turkey, walk away holding their noses. And as even puppets, such as Sarkozy’s France and the UK, find it hard to sign on to re-runs of the suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto.
    One suspects that Obama is going to be told in the coming days how difficult it is for even the most venal Pakistani politicians to be associated with the Netanyahu-Lieberman government’s best friends.
    And then there are Russia and China… a fine mess AIPAC has got us into.

  12. world peace

    Israel under the Bush administration’s carte blanche, proved first and foremost to its ally
    it can no longer maintain the bully it once was.
    The bull is weak, exhausted and its master the U.S.
    is disintegrating as well . Economically, ideologically and, as well with the rise of other powers on the world stage .
    Game over was declared after the 33 day war on Lebanon . The Gaza massacre was a proof of the bull in his last gasps for some air, 1400 casualties on the Palestinian side, 13 on the Israeli side, a ratio of 100/1, 14000 home were demolished, farms, flower plant as well many government buildings . Religious worship homes and hospitals are in the tens, I think we forget the numbers, but will never forget the screams and blood, the shattered bodies carried by brave men under constant bombardment from the brave israeli armies, who exercised his morality as a Jewish soldier on a sieged population .
    Is the US a culprit ? no doubt, did the US and Western countries acted better in Iraq Afghanistan, Somalia…
    Goldstone is a brave man with a conscious mind, they are many like him, but few in his position.
    The Palestinians are stronger than ever today, not because his situation improved , but the bully had been exposed and grasping for some air .

  13. Pirouz

    I’m not so sure Obama will veto. Not vetoing is an opportune means of disciplining the Israelis for their failure to accept the very minimal request of suspending settlements. That is to say, the passive nature of not vetoing works.
    But on the other hand, if Obama vetoes, then that’s it- his credibility is gone.
    Helena’s right. It’ll be interesting.

  14. Howard (not me again!?!?!)

    The countries listed in the vote tallies provided by al Jazeera (according to chrisx, above) have the following Freedom House ratings (best possible rating is 2 = “Free”, worst is 14 = “Not Free”), which reflect the sum of a Political Rights score and a Civil Liberties score. Countries that do not recognize Israel’s right to exist at all are marked “DOES NOT RECOGNIZE.” Most of these governments consistently attack Israel in the UN, regardless of what it does, and don’t believe that it has any right to defend itself. They weren’t going to vote any other way, so don’t get too excited.
    ********** VOTED TO ACCEPT “GOLDSTONE REPORT” **********
    Rating by Country, from worst to best, followed by my comments
    13 China: Chinese-occupied Tibet: rating = 14
    13 Cuba: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE
    13 Saudi Arabia: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE. Full gender apartheid. Full religious apartheid. Illegal for Jews like me to even visit the Kingdom. Niiice.
    11 Egypt
    11 Qatar: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE
    11 Russia: After the slaughter of Chechnya, Russia sits on the UNHRC – a grim joke, right?
    10 Bahrain: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE. Importing Sunnis from abroad to change 90% Shia majority
    10 Djbouti: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE
    10 Jordan: cynically stripping Palestinian citizens of previously granted citizenship
    09 Nigeria
    09 Pakistan: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE. It’s not clear how many civilians Pakistan’s army killed in Swat. Pakistani-occupied Kashmir: rating = 11.
    08 Bangladesh: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE. A newspaper editor, Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, is on trial for “sedition” for trying to visit Israel. You can Google him.
    07 Nicaragua
    07 Philippines
    06 Bolivia: Limited its relations with Israel under Pres. Morales, a close ally of the virulently anti-Israel Hugo Chavez
    06 Senegal
    06 Zambia
    05 India: Indian-occupied Kashmir: rating = 9
    05 Indonesia: DOES NOT RECOGNIZE
    04 Argentina
    04 Brazil
    04 South Africa
    03 Ghana
    03 Mauritius
    02 Chile
    ********** VOTED AGAINST “GOLDSTONE REPORT” **********
    02 USA
    02 Hungary
    03 Italy
    02 Netherlands
    02 Slovakia
    05 Ukraine
    ********** ABSTAINED OR DID NOT SHOW UP TO VOTE **********
    Chris said that these were:
    Belgium, Bosnia, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, Japan, Mexico, Norway, South Korea, Slovenia and Uruguay, UK, France, Madagascar, Kyrgyzstan and Angola
    I didn’t bother to look up the numbers for these countries. If someone wants to do so, go ahead. To my mind, anyone who bothered to read the report would either take a position one way or the other, or at least raise serious questions.
    Unlike Goldstone & co., I won’t presume to guess what was in the minds of the governments or representatives in question. I will, however, ask what on earth these countries are doing sitting on the UN Human Rights Commission if they are unwilling to take any position when such an openly political report gets shoved down their throats.
    I don’t suppose that I should be surprised. This seems to happen rather regularly.

  15. Pirouz

    Howard, while they could, the Apartheid South Africans erected the same exact strawman defense.
    Looking back, would you defend Apartheid? If so, then there’s really no use talking to you.

  16. John Francis Lee

    I’m not so sure Obama will veto… if Obama vetoes, then that’s it- his credibility is gone.
    Backing toward the cliff, drawing lines in the sand with your shoe… “If he crosses this line, then I’m really gonna… do something!”
    Repeat until you fall off the cliff backwards.

  17. Murphy

    I am 99% certain that the US will use its veto to prevent there being any chance of Israel being held accountable.
    I honestly don’t see how anyone could ever have thought Obama would be substantially different from his predecessors in this respect. The first thing he did on his nomination was rush posthaste to AIPAC, to prostrate himself at their feet.

  18. JohnH

    The US has several opportunities to extract concessions from Israel in return for a) it’s attempt to bury to Goldstone Report, b) it’s vote on the UNHRC, and c) it’s vote in the UNSC.
    If I were Obama, I would not veto the Goldstone Report merely as a way to pay Netanyahu back for his egregious, insulting behavior. If he does veto it, I would expect nothing less that a total settlement freeze by Israel in return. If neither of these happens, it’s clear to me that Obama is not interested in reigning in the Israelis, and that Netanyahu will continue to spit in the eye of his major underwriter. Obama’s creds are sinking fast, and this would be another good indication that the man does not have the strength of character to be president.

  19. Abdelhafid Dib

    We must give a great honnour the courageous judge Goldstone and his commitee for their brave job they made.They were faithful to their principles. regardless to his orgin as a Jewish the Judge Goldstone secrified himself of being under presure and threats but he never being shaked.He is the man I think who merits the noble price and not Presisent Obama with much respect I have for him.
    Hafid

  20. Salah

    The US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice will hold bilateral talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders during a trip to Israel next week, her office confirmed Friday.

    Is this visit have some thing to do?

  21. colin

    Just so there is NO DOUBT, the representatives of the MAJORITY of the world’s 6.5 billion inhabitants, voted to adopt the Goldstone report. That is, in excess of 3.3 billion.

  22. Salah

    colin,
    You think so?
    Are Saudi regime represents their unknown number of their nation (some telling they are 20,000,000)?

  23. Donald

    Derick–
    Yes, the HRC is hypocritical, but the US, whose support matters a lot more, is heavily biased in favor of Israel, so they’ve got no reason to complain just yet. Up to this point war crimes trials have generally been a form of victor’s justice and certainly Western democracies have always assumed they could get away with murder (literally), because human rights law was for deposed dictators and low ranking soldiers. I’d like to see Israeli officials brought to trial for the precedent it would set. But of course that’s why the US won’t allow it to happen. It’s the same reason Obama wouldn’t allow Bush to be prosecuted, or one of the reasons anyway.

  24. John Francis Lee

    Surge in West Bank support for Hamas

    A SURGE in support for the militant Hamas organisation has prompted fears in Israel and the West that Mahmoud Abbas, the moderate Palestinian president, may be defeated in his West Bank stronghold in elections next year.

    “Moderate Palestinian president…” Comprador, sell-out, traitor!
    We Americans should look to Hamas and to Hezbullah as models of the bottom-up political organizations that we need to form to protect ourselves from the depredations of our own politicians and the vehicles to use to reclaim our sovereign power as well.

  25. Abdelhafid Dib

    I must confess that the judge Goldstone, he is eally goldstone. He did much better for the just Palestinian cause and the world will never forget his noble mission.
    Hafid

  26. Abdelhafid Dib

    I must confess that the Judge Goldstone, he is really goldstone. He did much better for Palestinians as just cause and the world will never forget his noble mission.
    Hafid

  27. Howard

    There is a misconception that any attack on Israel is automatically “good for the Palestinians,” or automatically “helps the Palestinian cause.” As it happens, this is not true (Similarly, anyone who thinks that an attack on Palestinians is automatically good for Israel are wrong).
    “Politics as usual” at the UNHRC does nothing to enhance REAL human rights for human beings, and more specifically, hurts Palestinians and Arabs rather than helping them.
    Over 70 civilians have murdered by Islamists this month alone in Iraq (Iraq Body Count), and Iraqi officials have claimed more than once to know that these terrorists are backed by Hamas’ sponsor, Syria; a civil war rages in Yemen that has killed thousands of people, and Saudi Arabia won’t even allow UN relief supplies to cross the border (either NPR or the BBC World Service a few days ago; I don’t recall which); the Pakistani army is advancing (as it should) against Taleban and al Qaeda, and civilians will inevitably die because al Qaeda and the Taleban use human shields, and that’s tragic, but that’s warfare; Sri Lanka inappropriately and indiscriminately killed 7,000+ Tamil civilians and the UNHRC congratulated them for their “victory” over the LTTE; the Chinese continue to grind Tibet out of existence. The slaughter of Africans continues in Dar Fur. Literally millions have been murdered in the DR Congo. The UNHRC does nothing. Human life and rights come very cheap unless they can be used as a weapon against Israel.
    The PA itself says that Hamas used ambulances to smuggle its leaders. Hamas and PIJ leaders bragged about using Palestinian civilians as human shields. Hamas continues to use its resources for violence, Islamist repression and increasingly genocidal propaganda, rather than putting everything it has into building a better, free life for free people living within the 1967 Gaza border that is supposed to become the international border one day. Goldstone says nothing. The UN does nothing.
    In this report and in this vote, the UNHRC and the Goldstone Commission failed not only the rest of us, but the people of Gaza as well. Whitewashing Hamas’s actions and fabricating nonsense “legal” arguments will do nothing to protect Gazans or Israelis from the real problem, which is that Hamas believes the use of human shields is a praiseworthy (and apparently brag-worthy) activity, that the world is ignorant enough (or dumb enough, or biased enough) to believe whatever fabricated nonsense Hamas produces, and that deliberately rocketing Israeli civilians – where there is no military objective in sight – is “okay” in the name of revenge.
    The UNHRC does not care.
    Even Goldstone, author of this shambles of a report, objects to the fact that the UNHRC resolution accuses Israel without even mentioning Hamas crimes, apparently because he knows that will lead Hamas to conclude that nobody cares what it does. I’ve been wondering whether anyone here would mention this point, because if you HONESTLY support Goldstone’s report as a fact-finding thing (which I don’t), or if you HONESTLY wish to protect the human rights of Gazans (which I do), then I can’t see why you would celebrate a ridiculously twisted UNHRC resolution that utterly whitewashes Hamas’ war crimes and its abuse of Palestinians themselves, knowing as you do how protecting a group like Hamas will lead it to behave more badly vis a vis Gazans over time.

  28. Abdelhafid Dib

    Mr Howard, let’s put your point of wiew into consediration, but you have to admit that Israeli leaders did commit crime of war and you can’t, at any state, justify wrong with wrong.
    Hafid

  29. Howard

    Hello, Hafid.
    Actually, no I don’t.
    The Goldstone report was an utter waste of trees. it is full of verifiable fabrications and incredible distortions and the procedure used to gather testimony (public hearings) guaranteed Hamas intimidation of witnesses. We’ve discussed all of this before. And more and more obvious fabrications keep coming to light. Given the amount of outright nonsense in the report, the report completely fails the credibility test and becomes useless.
    Goldstone and others also more or less accept the PCHR civilian casualty figures without checking them at all, and these figures are riddled with inaccuracies.
    PT Watch
    Most of the other deaths are tragic reminders that when a group like Hamas or Islamic Jihad uses human shields (as their leaders literally bragged about doing) those human shields will often be harmed or killed. The deaths are the fault of the people using them as human shields – in this case, Hamas.
    Israeli soldiers killed some civilians in Gaza, but there has been no convincing evidence to date that these were deliberate killings of civilians. Noncombatants die in urban conflict, all the time.
    Israeli leaders clearly made major efforts, ranging from a huge phone database to unprecedented 3 hour daily ceasefires for distribution of humanitarian aid, to protect Gazan civilians. Had they wanted to do otherwise, Gaza would have been flattened.

  30. John Francis Lee

    Israel wants law of war changed after damning UN Gaza report
    JERUSALEM – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his government on Tuesday to draw up proposals to amend the international laws of war after a damning UN report on its war in Gaza.
    The security cabinet did not, however, discuss calls made by ministers for an internal investigation into the 22-day offensive at the turn of the year that killed some 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis, an official told AFP.
    Defence Minister Ehud Barak backed Netanyahu’s call for a diplomatic campaign, saying that Israel should propose changes in the international laws of war “in order to facilitate the war on terrorism”, an official quoted him as saying.
    “It is in the interest of anyone fighting terrorism. We must give the IDF (Israeli army) the full backing to have the freedom of action,” Barak said.
    Goldstone, the respected South African jurist who led the UN fact-finding team, recommended that the conclusions of the report be forwarded to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court at The Hague if the two sides fail to conduct credible investigations into the conflict within six months.
    “What peace process are they talking about? There isn’t one. The Israeli foreign minister doesn’t want one,” Goldstone said, referring to ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

  31. Howard

    @Furphy
    Egypt closed its border with Gaza primarily because Hamas is a violent splinter of Egypt’s own Muslim Brotherhood, which it sees as a threat to the stability of the Egyptian state, and in retaliation for Hamas seizing power through violence after Egypt had worked to craft compromise agreements between Hamas and Fatah. Egypt realized that it could close the border with impunity, as the world would blame Israel for “besieging Gaza” rather than blaming Egypt.
    However, Egypt did not strictly enforce its closure policy. In addition to periodically allowing people through (including Hamas figures), Egypt allowed a rampant smuggling industry to develop, making very few efforts to stop it. This was in part because Egyptians do sympathize with the people of Gaza. In addition, Egypt used the smuggling to its own advantage; it wanted to get Israel to relax certain disarmament provisions of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, which limited the military forces in Sinai; Egypt’s public complaint was that it could not do more to stop the tunnel trade without more men and firepower in Sinai. Welcome to hardball international relations, middle east style; this kind of thing is much more common than you would hope. Anyway, Israel has caved on this point, to some extent.
    Since Hamas seized power in Gaza, Hamas’ own behavior has hardened Egyptian attitudes and increased Egypt’s awareness that Hamas – based in Damascus – operates as a proxy of the Iran/Syria axis. If you have been paying attention to the shifting of geopolitical tectonic plates within the middle east, you are well aware of the nasty, long-running rivalry between major Sunni Arab countries and Iran. Iran’s allies are increasingly open about viewing Egypt as an enemy. Add to this Hamas’ violent attacks on the Egyptian border, Hamas and Hizballah rhetoric against the Egyptian government, and the discovery of Hamas and Hizballah terrorist networks operating in Egyptian territory and preparing to strike against Egyptian Canal and tourist interests, and it’s clear that the Egyptians have well-founded reasons to see Hamas as a credible threat to Egyptian interests. If you’ve been following the news out of the region this year, you’ve seen evidence of Egypt’s increased hostility toward Hamas on the ground.
    Hamas can thank its own leadership, and its decision to align with Iran rather than Egypt, for this hostility.
    But here’s another question. Why would Saudi Arabia and Yemen not allow the UNHRC to drive urgently needed relief supplies into Yemen? Why would they forcibly return Yemenis to the war zone? And why don’t all those people who complain about Gaza borders complain about the Saudis when they prevent basic supplies like tents and food from being delivered to much more needy Muslim civilians stranded in a wasteland?
    AFP on Yemeni Aid Blockage
    Human Rights Watch on Yemeni Aid Blockage
    UN aid agencies are unable to reach 100,000 civilians fleeing the fighting. The UN has permanent staff in Gaza. Imagine if Israel prevented UN access to even 100 Palestinians. It would be front page news and half the world would be passing resolutions condemning it. But Saudis or Yemen? Pfft. Apparently the lives of Yemeni civilians are very cheap.

  32. John Francis Lee

    Israel bars French visit to Gaza
    JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (UPI) — Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected a request by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner to visit Gaza, an Israeli official said.
    Netanyahu said Hamas would take advantage of such a visit to create media frenzy and show the damage caused in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza earlier this year, the official told Haaretz Wednesday.
    Netanyahu turned down similar requests submitted by European Union policy chief Javier Solana and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to visit Gaza in the past.

  33. John Francis Lee

    Israel, U.S. begin joint defense drill
    JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (UPI) — A U.S.-Israeli joint defense drill designed to counter ballistic missile threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Syria and Gaza began Wednesday, Israeli officials said.
    More than 1,000 Israeli soldiers and 1,000 members of the U.S. military European Command will participate in the exercise, dubbed Juniper Cobra, that began Wednesday and runs through Nov.5, the Israeli army said in a statement released Tuesday.
    While the army stressed the exercise is not in response to any world events, Israel Radio Wednesday quoted an unnamed Israeli military official saying the extensive drill is in preparation for a face off with Iran.
    In recent weeks, 17 American warships and transport planes loaded with air defense systems arrived in Israel ahead of the drill.
    Barack Obama Benjaming Netanyahu prepare for another in their string of serial destructions of Muslim countries.
    That’s apparently what Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize for.
    I cannot imagine any real man or woman of peace accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in the future, if it were ever offered to a non-War Criminal; it would sully and dirty any truly peaceful soul.

  34. Eurosabra

    Well, Israel has been subjected to ballistic missile threat since 1973, and most of the states officially opposed to its existence have hundreds of theater-level BMs aimed at it, some of them chemical-tipped and of such low accuracy that they simply MUST be designed as city busters, while the short-range rocket has become the tool of choice for the harassment of Israeli civilians.
    In areas where developing the skills of highly-specialized soldiers is vital to maintaining the safety of one’s civilian population, it is good to have good technically-competent friends to draw on, to share knowledge, and to practice with defensive systems. To those for whom a Jews’ breath in Tel Aviv is an offense to God it will make little difference either way.

  35. Howard

    Oy, vay, John Lee.
    They gave the Nobel peace prize to Yasser Arafat, a man who had ordered innumerable terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews; worked with other terrorist groups that murdered Germans, Italians, Americans and others; tried to overthrow King Hussein of Jordan; created a violent state within a state in Lebanon that led to the Lebanese civil war; supported Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, ran the corrupt and violent PLO; preventing any true home-grown or democratic alternative from emerging in Palestinian society over the decades; and never insisted that Arab countries treat Palestinian refugees as well as Israel treated Jewish refugees from the Arab world. And that’s only the beginning.
    The Nobel Peace Prize is completely and utterly meaningless.

  36. John Francis Lee

    Washington seeks to shield Tel Aviv from war crimes charges as Israel again raids besieged Gaza.
    “Member states must once and for all replace anti-Israeli vitriol with recognition of Israel’s legitimacy and right to exist in peace and security,” she said at a conference in occupied Jerusalem organised by President Shimon Peres.
    “We will stand by our friends on the frontlines and we will uphold the inalienable right to self-defence,” she said.
    She made no direct mention of the Goldstone report on the Gaza war which concluded that both Israel and Hamas, committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
    But hardline Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US position on the report during an hour-long meeting with Rice, his office said.
    “The prime minister thanked Rice for the Obama administration’s vigorous opposition to the Goldstone report and its ongoing support (of Israel) at the United Nations,” the statement said.
    It said Rice reiterated Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security.
    Rice earlier met Defence Minister Ehud Barak and extremist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
    Rice? Susan? Condoleezza? Bush II? Bush III? What’s the difference?
    During the Nuremberg trial, the chief American prosecutor, Robert H. Jackson, stated:

    To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    The evil continues to accumulate, and will continue, until the US dissociates itself from Israel and puts an end to its War of Serial Destruction of Muslim Nations.
    We will all be paying for the WSD for generations to come.

  37. John Francis Lee

    The US as Failed State
    The US has every characteristic of a failed state.
    The US government’s current operating budget is dependent on foreign financing and money creation.
    Too politically weak to be able to advance its interests through diplomacy, the US relies on terrorism and military aggression.
    Costs are out of control, and priorities are skewed in the interest of rich organized interest groups at the expense of the vast majority of citizens. For example, war at all cost, which enriches the armaments industry, the officer corps and the financial firms that handle the war’s financing, takes precedence over the needs of American citizens. There is no money to provide the uninsured with health care, but Pentagon officials have told the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee in the House that every gallon of gasoline delivered to US troops in Afghanistan costs American taxpayers $400.
    “It is a number that we were not aware of and it is worrisome,” said Rep. John Murtha, chairman of the subcommittee.
    According to reports, the US Marines in Afghanistan use 800,000 gallons of gasoline per day. At $400 per gallon, that comes to a $320,000,000 daily fuel bill for the Marines alone. Only a country totally out of control would squander resources in this way.
    While the US government squanders $400 per gallon of gasoline in order to kill women and children in Afghanistan, many millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their homes and are experiencing the kind of misery that is the daily life of poor third world peoples. Americans are living in their cars and in public parks. America’s cities, towns, and states are suffering from the costs of economic dislocations and the reduction in tax revenues from the economy’s decline. Yet, Obama has sent more troops to Afghanistan, a country half way around the world that is not a threat to America.
    Only a country totally out of control by its own citizens would squander resources in this way.
    America is under control… the control of the Nobel Peace Prize winning stooge : Barack The 800 Million Dollar Man Obama and his patrons on Wall Street, in Washington/Israel, and in the corporate boardrooms of multinational corporations.
    Think it’s time to regain control of our country? Or do you require a more punishment and debasement at the hands of the stooge’s patrons?

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