By Richard Landes *
The first part of this two-part article explores the pervasive flaws that mar the UNHRC’s “Gaza Fact-Finding Mission Report.” It focuses on an interlocking combination of problems: 1) its failure to investigate seriously the problem of Hamas embedding its war effort in the midst of civilians in order to draw Israeli fire and then accuse Israel of war crimes; 2) its astonishing credulity concerning all Palestinian claims, contrasted with a corresponding skepticism of all Israeli claims; 3) its harsh judgments on Israelis for war crimes (i.e., deliberate targeting of civilians), contrasted with its resolute agnosticism concerning Hamas intentions. The result is that Goldstone actually participates in Hamas’ strategy and encourages the sacrificing of their own civilians.
[CLICK HERE TO READ PART II]
In response to the Israeli attack on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead (December 27-January 18, 2009), several major NGOs and public figures called for an investigation. On April 3, 2009, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed a “Fact-Finding Mission.” The mission was made up of four members, including Hina Jilani, Desmond Travers, Christine Chinkin, and at its head, Richard Goldstone, former member of the South African Supreme Court and distinguished international jurist. On the basis of the animus of the founding organization (UNHRC) and the pervasive bias of the members of the team, Israel refused to cooperate with what some observers called “a kangaroo court.” In May 2009, the mission met in Geneva. It later made two visits to Gaza (from June 1-5, 2009 and June 26-July 1, 2009), held further hearings in Geneva (in early July 2009), and eventually presented its findings to the UNHRC (first draft, 575 pages, September 15, 2009; final draft, 430 pages, September 25, 2009).