"On Monday, the United States assumed its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council -- the one the Bush administration had cold-shouldered, then boycotted. Its representative declared in Obamaesque tones, “Make no mistake: The United States will not look the other way in the face of serious human rights abuses.” And on Tuesday, Justice Richard Goldstone and his team submitted the report of their fact-finding mission into violations of international human rights and humanitarian law during Israel’s December-January offensive against Gaza -- a report requested by the Council itself."What are advocates for human rights and international law to make of the report? It has been produced by preeminently qualified experts on international law, including one participant in the commission of inquiry on Darfur and Goldstone himself, who served as prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunes for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. It is, in the words of Nadia Hijab, "painstakingly even-handed," criticizing not just Israel but Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for their crack-downs on opposition during the December-January assaults. It's recommendations include that the crimes described in the report be taken up by the International Criminal Court. It is, in short, one of the most potentially important documents of international law related to Israel/Palestine since the 2004 ICJ advisory ruling against the apartheid Wall. What does that mean for us? Hijab quotes outgoing UN General Assembly President Father Miguel d'Escoto, who spoke powerfully of the need for accountability in his final speech in that position:
"[d'Escoto] went on to make a very serious accusation against “those who should supposedly have been most interested” yet “denied their support.” He said he hoped “that they were right and that I was wrong. Otherwise, we face an ugly situation of constant complicity with the aggression against the rights of the noble and long-suffering Palestinian people.” If this complicity repeats itself at the Human Rights Council, the Goldstone Report will be sunk. The power of the state system (and a putative statelet) will have trumped the principles of international law and human rights -- unless human rights advocates act to make sure the right thing gets done."We need to make sure the right thing gets done. Over the next few days we'll be posting action alerts and resources that you, our supporters, need in order to make sure that this report doesn't get "sunk," as Nadia Hijab fears it will. For now, if you haven't already, join our campaign to end U.S. military aid to Israel--military aid that was used to commit many of the crimes described in the Goldstone report. Check out the whole report here [warning: it's a big file to download]. Read Hijab's full article here. Watch US Campaign steering committee member Phyllis Bennis talk about the report with Laura Flanders on GRITtv. And donate to the US Campaign to support our response to the Goldstone report. Stay tuned for more!
UPDATE: You can now take action to support the recommendations of the Goldstone Report by clicking here.