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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gaza investigation: Israel guilty as charged

The inevitable result of the Goldstone investigative commission into the Gaza war is before us. It is inaccurate to say that the commission was appointed to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes. It is more accurate to say that the mission of the commission was to condemn Israel after a fair trial, in the same way as judges in the southern US aimed to see that "this nigra gets a fair trial before we hang him." Judge Chinkin, one of the panel members, had  already signed a public letter condemning Israel for war crimes last January. She did not require any investigation to reach her conclusions. Such an act is sufficient for disqualifying a judge from participation in any legal procedure, but this was not just any procedure. Probably, she did not require a war either to reach her conclusions about Israel. 
The findings of the commission will be passed to the Hague court and used as an excuse for various initiatives to delegitimize Israel.
Last update - 17:51 15/09/2009       
UN: Israel, Palestinians guilty of Gaza war crimes
By Shlomo Shamir and Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondents
United Nations investigator Judge Richard Goldstone said on Tuesday that his commission had found that both Israel and the Palestinians committed war crimes during the offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Goldstone concluded that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, during its December 27-January 18 military operations in the Hamas-ruled territory.
A summary of his nearly 600-page report on the fact-finding mission's conclusions also said the firing of rockets into Israel by Palestinian militants where there were no military targets would constitute war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, as well.
Goldstone, a former chief UN war crimes prosecutor heading the four-person inquiry team, said he would pass on his findings to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
Israel refused to cooperate with the mission because it regarded it as having biased instructions from the UN Human Rights Council, which has a track record of repeatedly singling out Israel for criticism and turning a blind eye to any Palestinian wrongdoing.
The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor earlier this month cast doubt as to the neutrality of the Goldstone Commission on Gaza.
Goldstone said in July he regards the mandate of the fact-finding mission as requiring an independent investigation into all alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law during the IDF's 22-day offensive.
"The testimonies we have heard from victims and witnesses... have been very difficult to hear, but I believe it is important that we listen to these stories," said Goldstone.

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