Wednesday, November 11, 2009

UN General Assembly Votes For Probe Into Gaza War Crime By A Vote Of 118 To 14.

UN General Assembly Votes For Probe Into Gaza War Crime By A Vote Of 118 To 14.

UN General Assembly Votes For Probe Into Gaza War Crimes

UNITED NATIONS - Defying the pressure from the United States and Israel, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved Thursday a resolution that calls on both the Jewish state and the Palestinians to investigate the accusations of war crimes during last winter’s deadly Israeli bombings of Gaza.

The resolution - approved by 118 to 14 votes - with most of the developing world, including Pakistan, and Arab countries, in favor, and the US and Israel notably opposed - underscores the broad support for the UN investigative commission’s report on the three-week-long Gaza conflict.

Forty-four countries, including France and Britain, abstained.

The Goldstone Report, named after the South African jurist and former UN human rights investigator Richard Goldstone who headed the investigation, accused both sides of war crimes in last winter’s fighting, but came down hardest on Israel.

The fighting in December 2008 and January 2009 between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group controlling Gaza, resulted in 14 Israeli deaths but more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed, including many civilians.

The resolution calls on Israel and “the Palestinian side” to undertake investigations into the Goldstone allegations within three months, and asks UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to transmit the report to the Security Council.

Most of the more than 50 speakers said there must be accountability - especially from Israel - for the alleged violations of international law during the Gaza conflict.

Israel angrily rejected the resolution as “deeply flawed, one-sided and prejudiced” while the United States called it “unbalanced and biased” and warned that it would hurt prospects for achieving Mideast peace.

The four-member fact-finding team called for a number of measures, including the referral of the report to the Security Council, since neither the Israeli government nor the responsible Palestinian authorities have so far carried out any credible investigations into alleged violations.

This news was published in print paper. To access the complete paper of this day. click here

Credibility Of Afghan Govt Near 'Disaster': Sweden

KABUL (AFP) – President Hamid Karzai will be sworn in on November 19 for another five years under the scrutiny of foreign leaders who Wednesday stepped up pressure on the Afghan leader to act against corruption.

Karzai, 51, will be sworn in for another five years under the scrutiny of foreign leaders who Wednesday stepped up pressure on the Afghan leader to act against corruption.

Black Deeds Of Blackwater!

NEW YORK – Blackwater tried to buy the silence of Iraqi officials after the security company’s guards fatally shot 17 Iraqi civilians more than two years ago, former company officials said.

They told The New York Times that the executives of Blackwater Worldwide had authorised secret payments totalling about $1 million to Iraqi officials in return for their agreeing to mute criticism and to support the company after the September 2007 shootings in Baghdad.

Blackwater, the Times said, approved the payments in December 2007 after US and Iraqi investigators had determined the shootings were unjustified and Iraqi officials called for the company to leave the country.

House Shames Itself on Goldstone Report

By Matthew Rothschild, November 4, 2009

Shame on the House of Representatives, and on the Democratic leadership of the House, for pushing through a resolution once again blindly taking the side of Israeli aggression.

I’m referring to the vote on Tuesday, by a lopsided 344-to-36 margin*, to condemn the Goldstone report on Gaza.

That report, by South African jurist Richard Goldstone for the UN, showed that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes in the lead-up to and during Israel’s invasion of Gaza almost a year ago. (To read the executive summary, click here)

It noted that Israel deliberately attacked civilian targets, and did not take sufficient action to minimize civilian loss of life. For instance, it found that Israel even refused to allow the evacuation of the injured by ambulance.

The report also condemned Hamas for its rocket attacks into Israel, which the report said were designed to create terror.

Even as the U.N. was about to consider the report, the House measure called it “irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.” And it urged the Obama Administration to “strongly and unequivocally oppose” any discussion of it at the UN.

This reflexive attitude that Israel can do no wrong is morally bankrupt and exceedingly unhelpful in resolving, in a just manner, the conflict between Israel and Palestinians.

Dennis Kucinich had it right when he denounced the House majority for going along with this. His statement is so powerful that I’m excerpting it at length here.

“Today we journey from Operation Cast Lead to Operation Cast Doubt,” he said on the House floor on Tuesday. “Almost as serious as committing war crimes is covering up war crimes, pretending that war crimes were never committed and did not exist.

“Because behind every such deception is the nullification of humanity, the destruction of human dignity, the annihilation of the human spirit, the triumph of Orwellian thinking, the eternal prison of the dark heart of the totalitarian.

“The resolution before us today, which would reject all attempts of the Goldstone Report to fix responsibility of all parties to war crimes, including both Hamas and Israel, may as well be called the ‘Down is Up, Night is Day, Wrong is Right: resolution.’ . . .

"How can we ever expect there to be peace in the Middle East if we tacitly approve of violations of international law and international human rights, if we look the other way, or if we close our eyes to the heartbreak of people on both sides by white-washing a legitimate investigation?

"How can we protect the people of Israel from existential threats if we hold no concern for the protection of the Palestinians, for their physical security, their right to land, their right to their own homes, their right to water, their right to sustenance, their right to freedom of movement, their right to human security of jobs, education and health care?

"We will have peace only when the plight of both Palestinians and Israelis is brought before this House and given equal consideration in recognition of that principle that all people on this planet have a right to survive and thrive, and it is our responsibility, our duty to see that no individual, no group, no people are barred from this humble human claim."

Until most members of Congress show some respect for international law and some humanity toward Palestinians, there’s no reason for Israel to.

UN Ejects Canadian Commentator After Gaza Vote

The Gazette (Montreal) - Steven Edwards - Nov 7, 2009

An explosion followed an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah near the border with ...

Pro-Israeli Canadian Lawyer Ejected From UN

National Post - Steven Edwards - Nov 6, 2009

Handout photo Anne Bayefsky, a Canadian law professor, was ejected from the United Nations earlier this week. UNITED NATIONS -- Guards ejected an accredited ...

UN's Goldstone Criticizes US Reaction To Gaza Report
BERLIN (Reuters) - The head of a UN investigation that accused Israel of
war crimes in Gaza, Richard Goldstone, has said he is disappointed there has been ...
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Analysis: Israel's Refusal Of UN War Crime Investagation Gives Ammunition To Iran And Russia : There has been a lot of news about how Israel has been accused by a UN resolution of war crimes against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The UN wants Israel to open an official investigation into the matter, but Israel refuses. As a political advisor and writer, I can see ticking time bomb that is attached to this issue. I can see where this could go in a very short amount of time.

While many news organizations are pointing out that Israel's refusal of opening up an investigation into the matter shows that they do not believe that they did anything wrong. What they are not reporting is that the refusal of starting a UN mandated investigation, Israel is making a bold statement against the UN, and a statement that it is not willing to do what it can to ensure peace in the region.

Eventually, this issue could be handed over to the UN Security Council for their review. Israel will press hard to have the United States veto the motion once it gets to the UN Security Council. This action would put a lot of pressure on the United States. Enough pressure that could rival the pressure that is currently on Israel.

It should be pointed out that the enemies of Israel, such as Iran, will make a major point of this issue.
Iran now has an offensive political weapon against Israel since it can point to this fact as showing, as I said, that Israel appears that it is not interested in peace in the region. It supports the arguments that Iran has been stating for a few years now.

If the United States attempts to block, or veto, a UN Security Council review, this will give the enemies of both Israel and the United States ammunition against both countries. It also posses a strain on the relationship that we have with Russia. Russia has been reluctant to give support to Israel in the past since it views the nation as one that will attack, and then hide behind the United States.

The next few weeks will be critical for Israel and the United States as more countries press for disciplinary actions against Israel. There is a chance that all of the work that the United States has conducted in an attempt to bring as much peace as possible to the Middle East. We shall see in the next few weeks if the UN decides to flex muscles against Israel, or if it will continue to attempt diplomacy.

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