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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:07 AM
Original message
Israelis who spoke at Goldstone committee: State must wake up
Edited on Wed Sep-16-09 10:23 AM by Scurrilous
Contrary to outraged official Israeli response to Goldstone Report, which accused IDF of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, Israelis who testified before UN-appointed committee say investigation was balanced, fair, hope Israel learns from report's conclusions,7340,L-3777571,


"The State of Israel officially condemned on Tuesday the Goldstone Report which accuses the IDF of committing war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, but the Israelis that testified before the special UN-appointed inquiry commission actually welcomed the harsh report, and urged the government not to ignore its conclusions.

"Israel should wake up and take it upon itself to investigate the claims," said Attorney Majd Bader, who testified before the committee on behalf of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel.

"The State should study the Goldstone Report very well, consider it seriously, and understand the evidentiary groundwork that it laid and adopt its conclusions," he added.

According to Bader, human rights organizations had asked the government to set up an independent inquiring body shortly after the operation came to its end, but were ignored.

"The Attorney General and those entrusted with enforcing the law in the State didn't even think of it. They just rejected the demand immediately. This resulted in other bodies taking care of the issue and now the conclusions are in.

"In our opinion, it is better late than never. The State of Israel and the enforcement authorities should wake up and take upon themselves the moral and legal obligation to probe the claims. What are they waiting for?" he wondered.

Bader believes Israel's response was inappropriate. "Regarding (Israel's) grievances over the comparison to Hamas in the same measure, any Palestinian will say 'What about the comparison between the occupier and the people it is occupying?' How can it be that the victim and the aggressor are judged according to the same standards?

"The question is why are they calling the report insolent? Surely none of those who have responded have had the chance to read its 547 pages, so what is this based on? They are firing an automatic response that was prepared in advance. The recommendations should be studied. The committee, at least in its treatment of my testimony, examined in depth and heard my words in a very balanced way which was respectful to both parties."

Human Rights groups in Israel provide initial response to Goldstone Report: Israel Must Investigate 'Operation Cast Lead'


"With the publication of the Goldstone Committee report today, human rights organizations in Israel are studying the report and its conclusions, and they call upon the Israeli Government to take the report seriously and to refrain from automatically rejecting its findings or denying its legitimacy.

Already it is clear that the findings of the report - written after gathering extensive information and testimonies from Israeli and Palestinian victims - will join a long series of reports indicating that Israel`s actions during the fighting in Gaza, as well as the actions of Hamas, violated the laws of combat and human rights law.

Human rights organizations in Israel believe that the State of Israel must conduct an independent and impartial investigation into these suspicions and cooperate with an international monitoring mechanism that would guarantee both the independence of that investigation and the implementation of its conclusions. The organizations have written to Israel`s Attorney General to demand that he establish such an independent body to investigate the military`s activities during Cast Lead, but he rejected their request.

The groups expect the Government of Israel to respond to the substance of the report`s findings and to desist from its current policy of casting doubt upon the credibility of anyone who does not adhere to the establishment`s narrative.

Organizations on this statement: Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah, Bimkom, BTselem, Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din."

Noam Shalit welcomes Goldstone Report findings on son,7340,L-3777711,

Father of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit commends UN report on Israeli offensive in Gaza for stating his son must be released, given Geneva Convention-guaranteed POW rights


"Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit said Wednesday he welcomes the Goldstone Report findings regarding his son.

The United Nations released its official inquest report into the Israeli offensive in Gaza Tuesday, stating that both Israel and Hamas were guilty of international law infractions, as well as possible war crimes.

The report, compiled by former South African judge Richard Goldstone has been rejected by Jerusalem, which called in "biased and encouraging to terror," and by Hamas, which claimed it is "politically imbalanced."

Nevertheless, the report did say that Hamas' treatment of Gilad Shalit fails to adhere to international convention guidelines regarding prisoners of war.

Shalit told Ynet that the report stated that his son must be released as soon as possible, "Or at least be given the rights guaranteed by the Third Geneva Convention of 1949, i.e. be treated in a humane manner, allowed to communicate with the outside world and receive visits form the Red Cross.

"We must be given information about his condition without delay," he added.

Shalit, who met with Goldstone and his committee, said he expects Hamas to uphold the report's recommendations and allow some contact with Gilad. The family, he added, intends to petition the Red Cross once more in order to make sure the group is aware of the report's recommendations."
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Support Work and Recommendations of UN Fact Finding Mission
Full Title: Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Support Work and Recommendations of UN Fact Finding Mission: Demand Effective Judicial Redress and the Protection of Victims Rights


"As Palestinian human rights organizations, we welcome the report by the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (the Fact Finding Mission), released on 15 September 2009 and emphasize the importance of the recommendations of the report for the restoration of justice to the victims of Israels offensive attack, Operation Cast Lead. The Fact Finding Mission was established by the President of the Human Rights Council, following Human Rights Council Resolution S-9/1. Headed by Justice Richard Goldstone, the Fact Finding Mission embarked on a thorough investigation which addressed the violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law committed both by Israel, Palestinian armed groups and the Palestinian National Authority in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The scope of the investigation by the Fact Finding Mission and its detailed legal analysis is commendable, especially considering the refusal by Israel to cooperate with the Fact Finding Mission. The Fact Finding Mission confirmed the findings and reports of many Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations, and strongly refuted Israeli claims that its military and political operations were conducted in accordance with international law. Investigations conducted by the Fact Finding Mission confirmed that Israel was responsible for the perpetration of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, war crimes, and serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The Fact Finding Mission also found sufficient evidence to indicate that crimes against humanity were committed. All allegations, including those relating to both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, demand effective judicial remedy. Victims rights must be respected.

In particular, the Mission noted that, While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.

These findings by the Fact Finding Mission cannot be left without redress. Consequently, Palestinian human rights organizations concur with the recommendations of the report which emphasize the need for accountability, whether it be through the Security Council, acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, referring the situation to the International Criminal Court or that by States fulfilling their obligations to bring perpetrators to account under universal jurisdiction. We also support the Missions recommendations to create a mechanism to compensate Palestinian civilians for damage or losses incurred during the military operations, but contend that such reparations should be made by the State of Israel in accordance with its international legal obligations. The international community has been relieving Israel from the economic burden of the occupation for far too long.

As Palestinian human rights organizations we stress the roles and responsibilities of the international community: the rule of law must be brought to the forefront of international relations. States must re-evaluate their relationship with Israel; normal relations cannot be conducted with States that have committed and continue to commit serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including crimes against humanity. All States must exert real pressure on Israel to ensure its compliance with international law. The illegal blockade on the Gaza Strip must finally be lifted and reconstruction must be allowed to begin. Palestinians legitimate right to live in human dignity and, as stated in the report, to determine their own political and economic system must be respected.

The reality of Israels longstanding occupation of Palestinian land was graphically illustrated by the events of Operation Cast Lead. The occupation has been characterized by systematic violations of international law; Palestinians legitimate rights, including the right to self-determination, have been consistently violated and ignored. To date, the international community has been effectively silent on the commission of these crimes, granting impunity to Israel that has allowed it to act as a State above the law. The results of this impunity are evident. This situation cannot be allowed to persist.

If the rule of law is to be relevant, it must be upheld. As long as individuals and States are allowed to act with impunity, they will continue to violate international law and civilians will continue to suffer the horrific consequences. Individual States and the United Nations must fulfill their legal obligations, and their moral duty, to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war and to establish conditions under which justice and respect for international law can be maintained."
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