Danby slams the Goldstone report

September 18, 2009 by J-Wire Staff
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Labour Federal MP Michael Danby lashed out yesterday in Federal Parliament at the Goldstone Commission’s report on the Gaza War. Read his speech below….

Michael Danby

Michael Danby

The Goldstone Commission, which has just reported in Geneva, probably will not be discussed much by this parliament, reflecting its lack of credibility and the fact that the Australian government, I am sure, does not take it seriously. The mandate of this regrettable commission, investigating the divisive problem of the Middle East, has been troubled from the beginning. All of the European Union, Switzerland, Canada, Korea and Japan, refused to be associated with the UN Human Rights Council mandate for this commission because it was so biased. Distinguished individuals such as former Irish president Mary Robinson refused invitations to head the commission since it was guided not by human rights but by politics.

In fact, her statement said:

I absolutely condemn what Hamas does. And that also should be a subject of inquiry—that is, the war that took place in the Middle East at the beginning of this year.

She continued:

And unfortunately, the Human Rights Council passed a resolution seeking a fact-finding mission to only look at what Israel had done, and I don’t think that’s a human rights approach. We need an inquiry to look at the violations of international humanitarian law by—potential violations by all sides.

That would be much fairer than the kangaroo court that, regrettably, has been established by this commission.

There is good old Australian racetrack terminology that describes the Goldstone commission: this is a race horse sired out of malice, out of a mare named Hypocrisy. I want to cite some of the background of the incredible one sidedness  of the UN report that, regrettably, has been brought down by Justice Goldstone’s commission in Geneva.

The mandate set by the Human Rights Council, run by such luminaries as Cuba, Zimbabwe, Libya et cetera

pursuing it, was:

… to investigate all violations of International Human Rights Law and … Humanitarian Law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 …

Now, the point about that immediately leaps out from the above is that it sets a framework where only the military action in Gaza, not what preceded it, can be investigated. As a humanitarian and as a supporter of human rights, I would not mind if a fair-minded Human Rights Council from the United Nations investigated that conflict. But you must look at what preceded the Israel army’s action in Gaza. The 8,000 rockets that landed on Israeli southern cities would be the subject as well of any investigation by a genuine humanitarian—any fair-minded person, any fair-minded United Nations organisation. The Goldstone commission is even more curious since UN Resolution S-9/1, which established the mandate for the Goldstone commission, said the Human Rights Council:

… decides to dispatch an urgent, independent … fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law … by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people … particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission.

One can understand why the Israelis, given the fact that nothing on their side was to be looked at and only what was happening in Gaza was to be looked at, would not cooperate with the mandate at all. What a very curious humanitarian commission that examines only one side. Most claims were unverifiable, made by various NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, which recently approached me to broaden their activities in Australia. Regrettably, I could not pursue their request, since Human Rights Watch have been soliciting fundraising efforts in Saudi Arabia— an extraordinary thing for a humanitarian organisation to do, given that country’s record on religious freedom, the rights of women et cetera. It is disgraceful that Human Rights Watch apparently decided to solicit funds from Saudi zillionaires on the basis of their highly critical views of the Israeli position. Goldstones ridiculous repeatedly refers to Gaza as occupied even though the Israeli’s unilaterally withdrew 5 years ago. No wonder so many people think some of these UN organisations exist in a parallel universe.

Let me speak some truth about power here. The resolution to the problems in the Middle East will come when people have considerations for all sides. President Obama will soon gather together the President of the Palestinian Authority and the Prime Minister of Israel, with the purpose of reviving the talks and reaching a two-state solution.We all know this has been the Australian position since partition; this has been the just position from the beginning. That is where justice will come from, not from this one-sided report which will only set back prospects of political settlement.


2 Responses to “Danby slams the Goldstone report”
  1. J Carter says:

    Well of course Danby condemned the report..it’s his job,he is after all the member for Israel in Australia, his electorate encompasses the majority of Melbourne’s jewish community-

    Judge Richard Goldstone has written an opinion piece in The New York Times: “Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law. Western governments in particular face a challenge because they have pushed for accountability in places like Darfur, but now must do the same with Israel, an ally and a democratic state. Failing to pursue justice for serious violations during the fighting will have a deeply corrosive effect on international justice, and reveal an unacceptable hypocrisy.”

    The United Nations Commission under former South African Judge Richard Goldstone, formed in April to investigate last year’s conflict in Gaza, concluded on Tuesday that both Palestinians and Israelis committed war crimes. The report follows 188 interviews and a review of 10,000 documents and 12,000 photoraphs and videos.

    The report says: “Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.” It says that Israel killed civillians, destroyed non-military facilities and imposed a blockade on Gaza as “collective punishment”. The report, finds these war crimes were a result of direct consciousz decisions of Israeli officials:

    Taking into account the ability to plan, the means to execute plans with the most developed technology available and statements by the Israeli military that almost no errors occurred, the Mission finds that the incidents and patterns of events considered in the report are the result of deliberate planning and policy decisions.

    On the other side, the reports states that rocket and mortar attacks into southern Israel were “war crimes”:

    Where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into civilian areas, they constitute a deliberate attack against the civilian population.

  2. Evan says:

    No wonder leaders around the world are worried about Goldstone’s report. Just about any army could be prosecuted based on such standards. Here is a good analysis http://samsonblinded.org/blog/goldstone-report-the-rebuttal.htm

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