Skip to main content

Richard Goldstone, whose UN Report alleging Israeli (and Hamas) war crimes in the Gaza Conflict last winter, has responded vigorously to PM Netanyahu’s accusation at the UN that the report seeks to undermine Israel’s legitimacy.

"It is disingenuous, to put it lightly, what Netanyahu said," Goldstone told The Nation. "The idea that this is aimed at delegitimating the state of Israel--that is the last thing I would want to do." Goldstone, a Jew and a Zionist, said that Israel's leaders were behaving contemptuously, "ignoring the specific allegations and simply launching a broadside."

Israel appears to be responding to the report in two ways, by trying to attack human rights and peace groups, while simultaneously preparing for possible war crimes prosecutions abroad.

The Nation reports that Israel has moved to suppress domestic peace groups such as New Profile and Breaking The Silence, threatening to cut off financial aid to the latter that it receives from the Dutch, Spanish and British governments. Likewise, Palestinian human rights activist Mohammed Othman was arrested after advocating for a boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel on a recent trip to Norway.

Clearly, Israel is rattled by the report and the effect it will have on world opinion. According to another article today in the AP, the government is preparing for possible war crimes arrests and prosecutions abroad. Just this week, British activists tried to have Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrested during a trip to England. A court ruled that he had immunity as a Cabinet minister, but the incident further raised concerns that government officials and military officers traveling abroad might be arrested in European countries that recognize universal jurisdiction. In response, a Israeli government task force has "gone into high gear" to protect such officials against prosecution.

Yossi Beilin, a former Israeli justice minister, notes the irony of this situation, since Israel pushed for such mechanisms beginning in the 50’s to track down Nazi war criminals. Geoffrey Robertson, an expert on international law cited in the article, observes that "a time will come when diplomatic immunity gives way to actual justice".

On Tuesday, Goldstone urged the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to adopt his panel’s report, saying that

"the lack of accountability for war crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."

The Obama Administration is really on the spot now, what with Netanyahu's recent refusal to freeze settlements. If the U.S. helps shelve the report after completely caving in on the settlements, whatever credibility and goodwill Obama generated in his Cairo speech will go poof. And for the second time in two weeks, he'll have handed a big win to Hamas and a smack in the face to Abbas.

Originally posted to Ray Blake on Thu Oct 01, 2009 at 03:57 PM PDT.


How should the U.S. respond to Goldstone & Netanyahu?

73%45 votes
9%6 votes
1%1 votes
14%9 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site