Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Goldstone Report

Late last month, a group headed by South African judge Richard Goldstone presented its report to the UN Human Rights Council on human rights violations committed during the recent Gaza conflict. From the outset, the exercise assumed that the lion's share of these violations were committed by the Israelis.

Lo and behold, that was indeed the conclusion of the report. Max Boot summarizes the report here, (no, I haven't read it myself, since it is almost 600 pages long). In his view, if the investigation had been conducted during World War II, the group would either have recommended that Franklin Roosevelt and Adolf Hitler be put in the dock together, or, more likely it would have put Roosevelt in the dock alone.

As you can imagine, most Israelis were outraged. Here, thanks to Caroline Glick, is a video that pretty much sums up their response.

So what is the impact? The original plan was to forward the report to the UN Security Council for action - presumably to punish Israel. The United States condemned the report strongly, perhaps because U.S. soldiers could be accused of the same war crimes as the Israelis, since they too face jihadists hiding among civilian populations. The EU, on the other hand, described the report as 'worthy of consideration.'

The United States also pressured the Palestinians not to lobby for referral to the Security Council. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas caved then, under strong domestic criticism for giving in to U.S. pressure, reversed himself.

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