Tuesday, February 2, 2010

As Goldstone deadline approaches, Israeli impunity continues

Three months after the U.S. Congress voted in favor of Israeli impunity by condemning the Goldstone Report with H.Res. 867--and just a few days before the deadline set by Judge Goldstone for independent investigations of the accusations of the report by all parties involved--Israel continues to avoid real accountability for its violations of international law and Palestinian human rights during last year's assault on the Gaza Strip. On January 31, Israel issued a 46-page document refuting the claims of the Goldstone Report and "documenting the steps it has taken to investigate IDF actions during Operation Cast Lead," according to YNet News. They Ynet articles notes that the IDF document claims to disprove only 4 of the 36 accusations of war crime leveled against Israel by the Goldstone Report.
The Israeli "counter-report" has already come under fire for inaccuracy. Here's the Guardian reporting on evidence which directly contradicts the Israeli report (note that the MK82 is a U.S.-made bomb, and that until recently fuzes for this series of bombs were produced by Motorola):
"The Israeli report looked in detail at a handful of incidents, including the attack on the al-Badr flour mill in northern Gaza, which was severely damaged.
The UN mine action team, which handles ordnance disposal in Gaza, has told the Guardian that the remains of a 500-pound Mk82 aircraft-dropped bomb were found in the ruins of the mill last January. Photographs of the front half of the bomb have been obtained by the Guardian.
This evidence directly contradicts the finding of the Israeli report, which challenged allegations that the building was deliberately targeted and specifically stated there was no evidence of an air strike. Goldstone, however, used the account of the air strike as a sign that Israel's attack on the mill was not mere collateral damage, but precisely targeted and a possible war crime."
Click here to read the full article.
The Israeli report also indicated that token disciplinary steps had been taken in those cases that the Israeli military ruled "inappropriate," including the case of two officers who were lightly disciplined for their role in the shelling of a UN compound in the heavily populated civilian area of Tel al-Hawa.
Meanwhile, attacks on Goldstone continue, including the latest slanders from Harvard professor and apologist for Israeli war crimes, Alan Dershowitz. Here's human rights activist Omar Baddar writing in the Huffington Post:
"The list of UN resolutions, legal bodies, mainstream human rights organizations, and prominent human rights advocates who have recently condemned, with overwhelming evidence, Israel's atrocities against Palestinians has become too large to ignore. Indeed, it is so extensive that one can no longer defend Israel's human rights record without having to attack the international human rights community itself, along with authoritative institutions of international law, and accuse them of exacerbating the conflict. Such zealotry was on full display since the human rights community shed light on Israel's atrocious conduct in last year's assault on Gaza. However, it sank to a new low of desperation yesterday, when Israeli news outlets reported that Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz has accused the eminent South African judge Richard Goldstone of being an "evil man" and a "traitor to the Jewish people."
Click here to read the full article.
Tired of U.S.-backed impunity for war crimes? Join the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and Interfaith Peace-Builders for a Grassroots Advocacy Training and Lobby Day, March 7-8, 2010. And take action for accountability in your community by organizing in your Congressional district and strengthening the international movement for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israeli apartheid and occupation. Tired of impunity? Act for accountability!