46 thoughts on “U.S. Stifling of Goldstone Report, Yet Another Major Political Gaffe – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Gaza. Hamas. Conflict. FACTS!
    A terrifying litany of the violation and abuse of human rights by the Israeli army in Gaza in December and January last.

    Extracted for the official United Nations Report of the Fact Finding Mission. April/May 2009

    1. Deliberate attacks by the Israeli army on civilians
    2. 1400 Gazans killed in three weeks
    3. The illegal use of white phosphorus
    4. Israeli violations of the right to free movement
    5. Dehumanization
    6. Torture and punishment
    7. Violations of international human rights and humanitarian law
    8. The arbitrary deprivation of life

    1887. The timing of the first Israeli attack, at 11.30 a.m. on a weekday, when children were returning from school and the streets of Gaza were crowded with people going about their daily business, appears to have been calculated to create the greatest disruption and widespread panic among the civilian population. The treatment of many civilians detained or even killed while trying to surrender is one manifestation of the way in which the effective rules of engagement, standard operating procedures and instructions to the troops on the ground appear to have been framed in order to create an environment in which due regard for civilian lives and basic human dignity was replaced with disregard for basic international humanitarian law and human rights norms.

    1889. The repeated failure to distinguish between combatants and civilians appears to the
    Mission to have been the result of deliberate guidance issued to soldiers, as described by some of them, and not the result of occasional lapses

    1891. It is clear from evidence gathered by the Mission that the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces. It was not carried out because those objects presented a military threat or opportunity, but to make the daily process of living, and dignified living, more difficult for the civilian population.

    1892. Allied to the systematic destruction of the economic capacity of the Gaza Strip, there appears also to have been an assault on the dignity of the people. This was seen not only in the use of human shields and unlawful detentions sometimes in unacceptable conditions, but also in the vandalizing of houses when occupied and the way in which people were treated when their houses were entered. The graffiti on the walls, the obscenities and often racist slogans, all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanization of the Palestinian population.

    1893. The operations were carefully planned in all their phases. Legal opinions and advice were given throughout the planning stages and at certain operational levels during the campaign. There were almost no mistakes made according to the Government of Israel. It is in these circumstances that the Mission concludes that what occurred in just over three weeks at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 was a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.

    1894. The Mission has noted with concern public statements by Israeli officials, including senior military officials, to the effect that the use of disproportionate force, attacks on civilian population and the destruction of civilian property are legitimate means to achieve Israel’s military and political objectives. The Mission believes that such statements not only undermine the entire regime of international law, they are inconsistent with the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations and, therefore, deserve to be categorically denounced.

    1895. Whatever violations of international humanitarian and human rights law may have been committed, the systematic and deliberate nature of the activities described in this report leave the Mission in no doubt that responsibility lies in the first place with those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw the operations.

    1919. The Mission finds that in a number of cases Israel failed to take feasible precautions required by customary law reflected in article 57 (2) (a) (ii) of Additional Protocol I to avoid or minimize incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. The firing of white phosphorus shells over the UNRWA compound in Gaza City is one of such cases in which precautions were not taken in the choice of weapons and methods in the attack, and these facts were compounded by reckless disregard for the consequences. The intentional strike at al-Quds hospital using high-explosive artillery shells and white phosphorous in and around the hospital also violated articles 18 and 19 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. With regard to the attack against al-Wafa hospital, the Mission found a violation of the same provisions, as well as a violation of the customary law prohibition against attacks which may be expected to cause excessive damage to civilians and civilian objects.

    1921. The Mission found numerous instances of deliberate attacks on civilians and civilian objects (individuals, whole families, houses, mosques) in violation of the fundamental international humanitarian law principle of distinction, resulting in deaths and serious injuries. In these cases the Mission found that the protected status of civilians was not respected and the attacks were intentional, in clear violation of customary law reflected in article 51 (2) and 75 of Additional Protocol I, article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and articles 6 and 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In some cases the Mission additionally concluded that the attack was also launched with the intention of spreading terror among the civilian population. Moreover, in several of the incidents investigated, the Israeli armed forces not only did not use their best efforts to permit humanitarian organizations access to the wounded and medical relief, as required by customary international law reflected in article 10 (2) of Additional Protocol I, but they
    arbitrarily withheld such access.

    Treatment of Palestinians in the hands of the Israeli armed forces
    (i) Use of human shields

    1925. The Mission investigated several incidents in which the Israeli armed forces used local Palestinian residents to enter houses which might be booby-trapped or harbour enemy combatants (this practice, known in the West Bank as “neighbour procedure”, was called “Johnnie procedure” during the military operations in Gaza). The Mission found that the practice constitutes the use of human shields prohibited by international humanitarian law. It further constitutes a violation of the right to life, protected in article 6 of ICCPR, and of the prohibition against cruel and inhuman treatment in its article 7.

    1926. The questioning of Palestinian civilians under threat of death or injury to extract information about Hamas and Palestinian combatants and tunnels constitutes a violation of article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits physical or moral coercion against protected persons.

    1930. In addition to being violations of international humanitarian law, these extensive wanton acts of destruction amount to violations of Israel’s duties to respect the right to an adequate standard of living of the people in the Gaza Strip, which includes the rights to food, water and housing, as well as the right to the highest attainable standard of health, protected under articles 11 and 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

    1932. The Mission finds that, despite the information circulated by Israel about the humanitarian relief schemes in place during the military operations, Israel has essentially violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital objects, food and clothing that were needed to meet the urgent humanitarian needs of the civilian population in the context of the military operations, which is in violation of article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    1933. In addition to the above general findings, the Mission also considers that Israel has violated its specific obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, including the rights to peace and security, free movement, livelihood and health.

    1934. The Mission concludes that the conditions resulting from deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Government with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip. The Mission, therefore, finds a violation of the provisions of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
    (g) Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and acts raising individual criminal responsibility under international criminal law

    1935. From the facts gathered, the Mission found that the following grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention were committed by the Israeli armed forces in Gaza: willful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, and extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly. As grave breaches these acts give rise to individual criminal responsibility. The Mission notes that the use of human shields also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

    1936. The Mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.

    2. Actions by Israel in the West Bank in the context of the military operations in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009
    (a) Treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank by Israeli security forces, including use of excessive or lethal force during demonstrations

    1936. The Mission further considers that the series of acts that deprive Palestinians in the Gaza Strip of their means of subsistence, employment, housing and water, that deny their freedom of movement and their right to leave and enter their own country, that limit their rights to access a court of law and an effective remedy, could lead a competent court to find that the crime of persecution, a crime against humanity, has been committed.
    2. Actions by Israel in the West Bank in the context of the military operations in Gaza from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009
    (a) Treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank by Israeli security forces, including use of excessive or lethal force during demonstrations.

    1937. With regard to acts of violence by settlers against Palestinians, the Mission concludes that Israel has failed to fulfil its international obligations to protect the Palestinians from violence by private individuals under both international human rights law and international humanitarian law. In some instances security forces acquiesced to the acts of violence in violation of the prohibition against cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
    When this acquiescence occurs only in respect of violence against Palestinians by settlers and not vice versa, it would amount to discrimination on the basis of national origin, prohibited under ICCPR.

    1938. Israel also violated a series of human rights by unlawfully repressing peaceful public demonstrations and using excessive force against demonstrators. The use of firearms, including live ammunitions, and the use of snipers resulting in the death of demonstrators are a violation of article 6 of ICCPR as an arbitrary deprivation of life and, in the circumstances examined by the Mission, appear to indicate an intention or at least a recklessness towards causing harm to civilians which may amount to wilful killing.

    1939. Excessive use of force that resulted in injury rather than death constitutes violations of a number of standards, including articles 7 and 9 of ICCPR. These violations are compounded by the seemingly discriminatory “open fire regulations” for security forces dealing with demonstrations, based on the presence of persons with a particular nationality, violating the principle of non-discrimination in ICCPR (art. 2) as well as under article 27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

    1940. The Mission finds that Israel failed to investigate, and when appropriate prosecute, acts by its agents or by third parties involving serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law.

    1941. The Mission was alarmed at the reported increase in settler violence in the past year and the failure of the Israeli security forces to prevent settlers’ attacks against Palestinian civilians and their property. These are accompanied by a series of violations by Israeli forces or acquiesced by them, including the removal of residential status from Palestinians, which could eventually lead to a situation of virtual deportation and entail additional violations of other rights.
    (b) Detention of Palestinians by Israel

    1942. The Mission analysed information it received on the detention of Palestinians in Israeli prisons during or in the context of the military operations of December 2008– January 2009 and found those practices generally inconsistent with human rights and international humanitarian law. The military court system to which Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territory are subjected deprives them of due process guarantees in keeping with international law.

    1943. The Mission finds that the detention of members of the Palestinian Legislative Council by Israel violates the right not to be arbitrarily detained, as protected by article 9 of ICCPR. Insofar as it is based on political affiliation and prevents those members from participating in the conduct of public affairs, it is also in violation of its articles 25 recognizing the right to take part in public affairs and 26, which provides for the right to equal protection under the law. Insofar as their detention is unrelated to their individual behaviour, it constitutes collective punishment, prohibited by article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Information on the detention of large numbers of children and their treatment by Israeli security forces point to violations of their rights under ICCPR and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


    1. “The timing of the first Israeli attack, at 11.30 a.m. on a weekday, when children were returning from school and the streets of Gaza were crowded with people going about their daily business, appears to have been calculated ”

      No, 27 December 2008, date of the first attack, was a Saturday. Check your calendar. So much for accuracy.

      1. “My name is Ahmad and I am 8 years old. I am Palestinian and live in a Refugee Camp in the Gaza Strip. My family is Muslim. I have four brothers and three sisters. Our house has three rooms. My brothers and I sleep in one room. Two of my sisters share one room. My parents and baby sister have the third room. We sleep on thin mattresses on the floor. My brothers and I sleep in the living room. In the daytime, we use our mattresses to sit on. In the nighttime, the mattresses become our beds.

        WE GO TO SCHOOL SIX DAYS PER WEEK. FRIDAY IS OUR DAY OFF. I get up about six o’clock in the morning. This semester I go to afternoon school but the others wake me up because they go to morning school. After the winter break, I will go to morning school and it will be my turn to wake up my brothers. There are so many children living in Gaza that they have two sessions of schools. Some schools have three sessions! ”

        link: http://tinyurl.com/y8gkkhu

        1. OK, silvia, so you found a kid who doesn’t go to school on Saturday. Good for you. But you forget that people are in the streets and in the shops on Saturday, and of course you forget the first thing Israel bombed on December 27th – the graduation ceremonies taking place at the Police Academy. Nine civilians were killed during that exercise alone.

      2. Silvia, your lack of acumen is breathtaking.

        Most people in Gaza are Muslims. Muslims may generally work on Saturday; it is not a weekend in the same sense as here in the west or in non-Muslim places. It is quite likely that children were indeed returning from school.

        Muslims generally take off on Fridays. Some may also include Saturday, but not all do. It is safe to assume that businesses were operating and at least some children were indeed returning from school.

        1. Generally in the Muslim world the “weekend” consists of one day, and that is Friday. In other cases the weekend will usually consist of Thursday and Friday. Saturday is generally a normal work/school day.

      3. Saturday IS a weekday, Silvia, dear. It is a school day and a work day in most of the Middle East, as anyone knows who actually lives in the region.

        1. Not sure whether Silvia is Israeli. If she is, that would mean she’s IN the region, but not of it. Right? If she were truly of the Middle East, she’d have some vague idea of the habits of 98% of the other inhabitants of the region.

          1. Disclosure: Israeli, in and of the region, one km (as the crow flies) from Gaza, newsfreak (3 radios on in the house in 3 different languages at all times including Hebrew and Arabic and read news in 5 languages daily). And – unlike you Silverstein – I don’t subscribe to any ready-made doctrine and I didn’t drop out of grad school.
            The notion that you – thousands of miles away and clearly limited in more ways than one – are better informed than I am is simply laughable.

          2. Gee, & you don’t appear to know that Saturday would be a normal work day in Gaza. How well informed are you with all those radios & newspapers? You have many resources but yr mind is closed. So all those outward manifestiations don’t help open you to the rest of the world around you.

            Why don’t you drop the non sequiturs. Noting that I didn’t complete my PhD is a such a silly attempt at an insult that has no bearing on this discussion. Or do you believe that the fact that I didn’t complete a PhD in Comparative Literature has any bearing on my grasp of the issues in the Israeli-Arab conflict?

          3. Oh! And did I mention that I have EIGHT (8) years first hand face-to-face experience with Qassam rockets?

          4. And did we mention that the suffering of Gazans has been far more intense than yours? Or do you plan to argue that a Palestinian army invaded your town, dragged you out of yr home & killed your relatives while they were waving white flags?? Not to mention that you are subsisting on UN food aid because your town is under siege by Palestinian forces & you haven’t been able to leave it for nearly two years.

          5. All very impressive, Silvia (well, not really), except that you made such a big thing about it being a Saturday, which turns out to be a school day and a work day for people in the region.

        2. I also went to school on Saturday growing up in a Muslim country.Yet, it never occurred to anyone to call Saturday a weekday. But hey! I’ll accept that, if not the preposterous notion that Israel calculated the timing so as to target civilians.

          1. This is why there needs to be an honest investigation by Israel of what went on for the country’s own sake and self respect. Otherwise you get judgements based on what others are inclined to believe. More and more it’s a judgement that Israel does not care about civilians., and that Israel is an oppressor, a pariah state.

            I don’t know if such an investigation is possible where the defensive mode predominates.

          2. Hmm, let’s see. A distinguished UN human rights panel calls Israel’s attack pre-meditated at causing maximum terror by the day & time on which they chose to launch it. And you call this “preposterous.” Which of you is more credible? Hmmm.

          3. How do you know it was preposterous? Were you in on the planning?

            I’m also curious as to what “face to face contact” with a Qassam rocket actually consists of. Enlighten us.

  2. The only thing Obama can do now is to force a settlement freeze – by threatening to block aid to Israel if need be. If he is either unable or unwilling to do that, then he is unable or unwilling to resolve the I/P conflict and he should just come right out and admit it – thereby drawing the whole matter to a close and allowing him to concentrate on the economy and other matters.

    Or, he can continue to string us along in the vain hope that his philosophy of change can be applied to the middle east also. It cannot. Because a change over there would require a fundamental change in every aspect of America’s relationship with Israel. America will have to file for divorce but insist upon remaining friends – as Britain and France and Germany and all her other allies are friends. That won’t happen until Abdul Abdulahad is president of the United States.

    From the time of Obama’s inauguration to his speech in Cairo I was completely hopeful of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Definately not now. Realising now that he can’t even overcome his first obstacle (a settlement freeze) and adding to the equation Israeli racism towards him, the deliberate and defiant eviction of Palestinians from Jerusalem (that sent a loud and clear message to Obama) and this latest episode with the Goldstone report begs the questions of how realistic his plan for peace is and why on earth is he still trying?

  3. Obama made his priorities very clear by spitting on Goldstone’s report. The Arab world knows it. He can give as many Cairo speeches as he wishes, but it is obvious that there will be no objectivity whatsoever as regards the actions and intentions of Israel.

    Mahmoud Abbas played right into their hands – by allowing himself to be used to further the rift between the Palestinian people, they remain weak and in no position to bargain effectively or present a united front against the Zionists. This is everyone’s goal – to maintain the weakness of the people so that the land grabbing and ethnic cleansing can continue.

    I never expected anything less than than that from Obama, who worshipped so fervently at the AIPAC shrine while campaigning last year.

  4. “It will further undermine the Cairo promises, which look ever more distant.”

    Oh, but he DID fulfill his promises to Cairo well beyond Cairo’s wettest dreams. Look for the OTHER resolution voted jointly with Cairo along with the postponement of the Goldstone report – which I deplore since it won’t hold water- and you’ll see how Obama has played the left like a guitar. And they acted exactly as expected by focusing on Israel, thus diverting attention from a disastrous resolution he BADLY wanted passed.

    1. Wettest dreams? Why the vulgar reference?

      If you don’t think the Goldstone report will “hold water,” why are you arguing so strenuously here? Does this report frighten you or flip a switch in your subconscious?

      The reality is that Obama has done absolutely nothing. He just got into lockstep with all the rest of the politicians happy to oblige AIPAC, et al, and condemned Goldstone’s report before it was possible he even read it.

      Give it up. The report is damning, and rightfully so.

  5. Here, buried several paragraphs down, something of particular interest to you, Silverstein:

    “condemns, in this context, any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and urges States to take effective measures, consistent with their international human rights obligations, to address and combat such incidents.”

    Wouldn’t your one-sided constant incitement against the national entity called Israel “constitute[s] incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” ?

    Of course, this is the old “defamation of religion” meaning Islam -as in Danish cartoons- in a new dress, but it nonetheless can work in more ways than one.

    Food for thgought.

    1. “Food for thgought.”

      Typo aside, I have never seen anyone use that phrase where it was true. Invariably someone says something exaggerated or ridiculous, followed by “food for thought”. It’d help if they typed that phrase first, which would alert the reader to the near certainty that there will be nothing worth reading after that point.

      Israel is criticized here because of its human rights violations. You can find a few people online who seem fixated on Israeli crimes because of antisemitism, but not here (with rare exceptions, which I think Richard deletes or bans). Why don’t you take your silly statement to some comment section where it seems more likely to apply?

    2. “Wouldn’t your one-sided constant incidement against the national entity called Israel constitute incitement to discrimination, blah blah?”

      It’s called freedom of speech, my dear. Food for thought? Sure, if you like junk food.

    3. Wouldn’t your one-sided constant incitement against the national entity called Israel “constitute[s] incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence” ?

      Read my comment rules. You’ve just broken rule #1. If you want to attempt to smear me & mischaracterize what my real views are, you’ll do it somewhere else if you ever attempt to publish such lies here. You’re on notice.

      1. The Hamas was condemned by the Goldstone report as having committed war crimes both by deliberately targeting civilians in Israel before and during the war and by endangering the lives of its own citizens.
        Yet, where in all your writings and on this entire board, is that fact discussed or even mentioned?

        1. Nice try, silvia. Classic Hasbara move, to try to change the subject. We’re not discussing Hamas’ actions, which are well documented in Goldstone’s report. We’re discussing the stifling of the Goldstone report by Israel and the US. Hamas doesn’t seem to be stifling anything.

          Hamas is supposedly a terrorist group. War crimes are pretty much expected of them. On the other hand, Israel should have known better.

          1. So what you’re saying in essence, is that the US committed war crimes by going after Al Qaeda – a terrorist organization of which criminal behavior is to be expected- in operations that killed civilians in the process and that the US should be prosecuted because the US “should have known better”?

            Not very convincing.

          2. Not by going after al-Qaeda, just like going after Qassam launchers isn’t a war crime per se. But it should need no explaining that in the course of going after some terrorists it’s very possible to commit crimes. And if there’s a war going on, that makes them war crimes. It’s exactly like the police sometimes violates someone’s civil or human rights in the course of doing their otherwise perfectly legitimate business of going after ordinary criminals, in which case it’s the government’s job to emphasize and enforce the limits.
            Richard Goldstone evidently understands the difference. The Israeli government does not. When Bibi claims that investigation and prosecution of Israeli war crimes infringes on Israel’s “right to defend itself” he is saying that Israel cannot defend itself save by committing war crimes. And that’s a view that must be decisively rejected by the international community.

        2. Many places, poor Silvia. I have in both the comment threads and posts supported the notion that Palestinian militants who fired rockets at Israeli civilians should be prosecuted for war crimes. Why don’t you do a bit more reading here before you make false assumptions?

  6. I agree with you that “Obama is a sharp and sagacious politician.” And that may be just the problem. He has pulled the wool over the eyes of the American progressive left in order to carry on the agenda of the oligarchy. But, as the old (Lincoln) saying goes, you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. For all of his “sagacity”, Obama will be a one- term president. If that!

  7. May be, one should not be surprised at what USA govt has done in terms of stifling the Goldstone report after Susan Rice made certain specific remarks after it was released, e.g. US had serious concerns about it, it was one sided, mandate given by HRC was unacceptable, it was a time to work to cement progress toward the resumption of (Israeli-Palestinian peace) negotiations and their early and successful conclusion and the GEM was the focus should be the future.
    When will these high level officials learn that one can not focus on future or there is no future without accountability for the actions of the past?

    1. “The focus should be the future” is explicitly Obama’s stance on torture by US agencies, so who is surprised he should be any less forgiving about crimes committed by a close ally against those who don’t count?
      Focusing on plastering over or suppressing justified resentment instead of addressing its causes is putting the cart before the horse.

      1. It’s a matter of not pissing off the people who helped you get elected. It’s a matter of not pissing off all the Democrats in congress who have, shall we say, accepted the kind donations of the Friends of Israel in return for “protecting Israel’s interests”.

        In money politics, the poor are forgotten. Israel buys American loyalty and protection, but the Palestinians are the ones who pay.

        1. Fiddler and Mary:
          Then the current administration should stop playing a cruel joke on the Palestinian people by pretending to bring them justice and have the guts to say so openly.

          1. I haven’t heard the current administration pretend to bring the Palestinians justice. Another peace process, yes.

          2. Sylvia:
            “So what you’re saying in essence, is that the US committed war crimes by going after Al Qaeda – a terrorist organization of which criminal behavior is to be expected- in operations that killed civilians in the process and that the US should be prosecuted because the US “should have known better”?
            Not very convincing.”

            Poor argument. Al Qaeda is not Hamas. Going after Al Qaeda is not the same as the use of terrorism for resistance to occupation and violations of international law. Terrorism is a weapon in everyone’s ( including Israel’s) arsenal.

            Operations such as Israel’s in Gaza ultimately don’t help victims of rocket attacks in Israel, Jews elsewhere, or Jewish solidarity.

            Fiddler- I agree. I don’t think Obama pushed Goldstone aside without thinking of the consequences. I think he went down both roads in his head. This matches his decision not to go after the Bush administration for their crimes and to instead place energy on moving forward. In this case perhaps the thinking was to go for a final solution and let the slower wheels of justice grind on other levels. The Gaza War crimes will not be so easily swept under. They won’t go away. And pushing them aside will exert a drag with outcries of injustice and it may turn out to have been a wrong path, but also maybe it is the better path.

  8. A few people I’ve seen online think that maybe Obama and the PA got huge concessions from Israel in secret for this. One would like to think so, but so far it looks more like a massive screwup.

  9. Actually Obama is not having such a bad month regarding health care reform. So he may well have something up his sleeve here too. The Israelis are clever and persistent, but they’re also utterly predictable. Kind of like the Republicans in that regard.

  10. The threatened withholding of airwave frequencies from Wataniyah for a second cellphone network in the West Bank had a lot to do with Abbas’ decision. His sons, amongst others of the Ramallahstan mafia, would be mightily put out if the project had been stopped in its tracks.

    Note – the threat to withhold frequencies was made by the ‘defense ministry’, not the telecommunications authority.

    Cellphones are a hugely profitable investment in ‘undeveloped’ countries. I live in one (the Philippines) where every kid over the age of 5 has one, and uses it every day, just to communicate with friends. Cellphones have made a very dramatic change in everyday life here.

    Just think about what this might do in a country where you can’t easily visit the next town because of checkpoints, etc, and can’t otherwise contact your relatives in Jordan, Lebanon, and elsewhere.

    If Israel doesn’t grant the frequencies by October 15th, the deadline, then expect an Abbas harikiri (or lynching).

  11. PS Thanks to GDriver for the extracts from the Goldstone report.

    I haven’t read it (And nor has Obama, Susan Rice, Abe Foxman, Abu Mazen, or Ehud Barak) but I thank you for the very specific extracts that you have given.

    I didn’t realise that it was so specific and serious.

    It’s serious stuff, and should be given every possible consideration.

    If it’s not to be totally ignored by the UN Security Council, then there should be another way of putting it back on the agenda, and not let it be sunk by a nepotistic asshole in Ramallah.

  12. At least the PA & Fatah have backtracked on their unforgivable betrayal of the Palestinian people when they previously asked for the Goldstone report to be shelved. Despite the desperate save on their part, Fatah has proven itself to be a deeply untrustworthy & incompetent leader of the Palestinians. Hamas will get stronger from this.

    Maybe there’s a battered victim syndrome at work with some of the Palestinian leaders. The Palestinian authorities (and people) are so at the mercy of this hostile occupying power, Israel, who controls the spigot, so to speak, of their basic economic & physical sustenance, their borders, air, water, etc. Living within such a brutal and heartless human experiment, perhaps it should be no surprise that people start selling out their own for that extra crumb.

    I find it inspiring, given the daily conditions the Palestinians live under, how most Palestinians retain their dignity and perserverance, etc. Testimony to the enduring human spirit, I guess.

    Obama and his administration should be ashamed of themselves for side-lining the Goldstone Report. But again, this is the administration that is ratcheting the heat up in Afghanistan, and how many Afghan civilians have we blown to bits with our super-weapons and unmanned drones (pretty far removed from the symmetrical warfare of the Battle of the Bulge, I’d say)? So much for ‘hope’ and ‘yes, we can’. What a fraud.

    1. It should also be borne in mind that the Palestinian Authority is nothing more than an arm of the occupation. It is not an independent entity but an administrative enforcer of Israeli policy. Abu Mazen does what his employers want him to do. They want to scuttle the Goldstone report and so he will do their bidding, even though it made him look like a complete ass.

      I’m afraid the Goldstone report is rapidly sliding into the abyss and will never be addressed fully. Once again, the Palestinian people are thrown under the bus by the politicians.

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