Friday, 2 October 2009

Goldstone postponed

We have to start with the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, aka the Goldstone Report. I've been looking through it this afternoon. It is a remarkable document - rigorous, fearless, all-embracing. The investigators home in on attack after attack carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza, and the "factual findings" and "legal findings" section at the end of each incident are damning, to say the least. The authors do not mince their words - concluding repeatedly that "the Israeli armed forces opened fire on civilians who were not taking part in the hostilities and who posed no threat to them."

Goldstone is such a hot potato we learn today that the Human Rights Council which commissioned has been unable to agree on a resolution in regard to it and has deferred further discussions until March 2010.

Israel, which astonishingly opined that if the report was "bad for peace", must be very happy. The truth is that it never expected such a devastating forensic job on its military behaviour, especially after preventing journalists from covering the war. Its diplomatic best friends, the Americans, for their part are reaping the first fruits of the Obama administration's decision to participate in the UNHMC. But is this a success for those wanting to kick Goldstone into the long grass? Delegates insist not - including those who want to see the report's wish for accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity made reality.

At least the victims have been given an opportunity - officially, internationally - to have their story heard, and believed, by a respected team of jurists. I recommend a thorough read.

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