Like Lazarus rising from the dead, the Goldstone Report has been given another lease on life by the UN Human Rights Council, thanks to the shame endured by Mahmoud Abbas when he withdrew support for it at the last Council meeting. Abbas was stung severely by the backlash from Hamas and other Palestinian groups. This new effort is a result and may go some way toward saving face for Abbas.
The N.Y. Times reports that the UN high commissioner for human rights is also throwing his support behind the report. This should help to nudge the process forward. The Council will vote on a resolution that will urge Israel and Hamas to perform a serious investigation of the crimes committed during the Gaza war by both sides. If either side fails to do so then the Council can return to recommend further action.
Netanyahu has threatened an end to the peace process if the PA doesn’t withdraw Goldstone. And possibly some Palestinian telecom entrepreneurs may be out $700 million due to a cell phone license which Israel is holding hostage.
I was also delighted to note that the U.S. diplomat who derided the Goldstone Report when it was last considered in Geneva was replaced by a different State Department representative who was positively sedate by comparison:
Douglas M. Griffiths, the American delegate at the meeting on Thursday, reiterated that the United States did not believe that the report was a matter for Security Council consideration and encouraged Israel to carry out its own investigations.
He said it was important to “be mindful of the larger context of ongoing efforts to restart permanent status negotiations that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state,” The Associated Press reported.
I’m presuming that there will be no last minute jawboning sessions with the American consul who last time managed to pressure Abbas into dropping Goldstone. Once burned, twice shy.
Haaretz reports that Bibi Netanyahu is desperately seeking help from any source he can to stymie the Report. But all his efforts appear destined to fail, unlike the last time. Ban Ki Moon gave him 15 minutes and then told him he could do nothing to intervene against the position of UNHCR. There was a rather uncomfortable 30 minute exchange with Gordon Brown in which the Israeli PM vainly attempting to persuaded Britain to vote “No” on the Report.
Last week, Bibi looked like a Jewish Houdini, able to break out of every “trap” set for him by his political enemies in Washington or Geneva. This week, not so much. Besides the resusitation of Goldstone, Turkey has taken its pound of flesh by allowing the cancellation of a military exercise because Israel was to be involved. Considering the tight level of coordination between the Israeli and Turkish military in the 1990s, this has to be a blow. Turkey was the only Muslim country in the region to have such close relations. Now, it’s a thing of the past.
It proves that a week can be an eternity when it comes to the Middle East. One day you’re on top of the world and the next you’re sitting in a dust heap. That’s why you have to try to keep things in perspective and never lose hope completely no matter how bleak things appear.
I was disappointed that the Times reporter who wrote this story inserted a piece of blatant hasbara that is offered by Israel and its Gaza massacre apologists:
Israel says about 400 Gazans die of natural causes every month, possibly accounting for the discrepancy in the numbers.
The reporter of course does not mention that every single Gazan death has been documented and only those war-related have been counted. This is nothing but pure, blatant, and offensive propaganda. And it’s deeply offensive. Israel killed 1,400 Palestinians of whom approximately 1,100 were civilians. Of these 300 were children. These are all facts documented by the Goldstone Report and other human rights documentation.