“The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) has earned a poor reputation for impartiality when it comes to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but it now has an unprecedented opportunity to begin to shed that reputation by endorsing the entirety of the Goldstone report on the conflict in Gaza and its recommendations.”
So says Abderrahim Sabir on Comment is Free, naturally.
Admittedly, Sabir appears to be impartial – he mentions Palestinian war crimes too, and refers to them as such, unlike Goldstone but given the apparently even handed opening of this article its thrust is woefully wrong-headed. Why on earth, for example, should any reputable international body endorse such a biased account of events which was so ill-researched that it was based upon out-of date Israeli rules of engagement which were updated in 2004, the updated version of which Goldstone had never read?
Sabir goes on to say that Goldstone
“..only accepted heading the mission after insisting that the mandate be changed to include violations by all parties in the conflict sending a clear message that a fact-finding mission would be credible only if it examined violations against Israeli and Palestinian civilians alike.”
What Sabir most definitely does not say (no doubt because it would detract more than a little from his tendentious line of argument) is that Goldstone was not the first person approached to head up the mission. The focus and remit of it also troubled many distinguished individuals, including former High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, who refused invitations to head the Mission and admitted that it was “guided not by human rights but by politics”.
There can be no doubt that the report is biased against Israel, not least in its refusal to acknowledge the terrorist nature and activity of Hamas. Additionally, according to the communiqué from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the day to day conduct of Mission was itself suspect. Throughout its visits to Gaza it was continuously accompanied by Hamas officials. It also refused to recuse members of the mission with clear political views on the issues under investigation. One mission member, Professor Christine Chinkin, signed a letter to the Sunday Times (see Sunday Times letters page, dated 11th January 2009) saying that Israel’s actions against Hamas attacks were acts of “aggression not self-defense”, thereby compromising the neutrality of the investigation before it had even begun.
Given all the foregoing, it should beggar belief that Sabir argues that the woefully biased findings of the Goldstone Report should be adopted by Arab countries rather than consigned to the waste bin of history where they belong. I say “should beggar belief.” That it appears not to is yet another indictment of Comment is Free’s anti-Israel stance, plus, of course, there is the little matter that Sabir is a former UN Human Rights Monitor in the Sudan and Iraq, so he is hardly impartial himself.
However, it seems that the commentariat is not as easily fooled as it once was. Could this be evidence of the green shoots of a revival of critical thinking on CiF? Sceptic that I am, I captured the following in case they are deleted:
29 Sep 09, 4:01pm
Well yes Athe article is correct
you have to laught at the thought of Arab members of the HRC… It’s like fucking for virginity 🙂
29 Sep 09, 4:20pm
“Arab members of the HRC – Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Bahrain, and Qatar – can play a pivotal role in assuring such an outcome by stressing the need for accountability for all those responsible for committing war crimes, Palestinians as well as Israelis.”
“The report also calls on the UN to monitor these efforts by Israel and Hamas. If they fail to do so, the report said, UN member states should ensure international prosecutions.”
Is this author serious?
If the “Arab members” of the UNHRC were not setting its agenda, they would be prime candidates for investigation by the HRC if it had a shred of legitimacy. As for expecting them to “monitor” Israel and Hamas — physician, heal thyself!
And imagining them prosecuted if they fail to do so (by whom? Iran?? Libya??)!! – when pigs have wings.
From the author’s bio:
Abderrahim Sabir is a former UN human rights monitor in Sudan and Iraq.
Oh dear, oh dear.
However, lest the reader be tempted too readily to jump for joy here’s a somewhat more grounding contribution from one of the usual more benighted suspects. Note his reminder that Goldstone is writing “asaJew”:
29 Sep 09, 4:16pm@endofdays:
Are you aware that HAMAS is still launching rockets at Sderot and other Israeli towns?
Are you aware of Israel’s non-stop target-killing of Gazans? Two militants over the weekend. I heard in yesterdays press (Nyt/Ft?) that some Palestinian teens were in their crosshairs. I didnt bother reading @ it
I had to laugh. Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Bahrain, and Qatar and Human Rights.
Wonderful. Just wonderful.
Israeli war crimes – not to be unnecessarily & inequitably compared to those committed by the occupied Palestinians – says the UN report headed by South African Jew Richard Goldstone, a supporter of Israel, whose daughter declared that nothing was more important to her than Israel.
Is that wonderful?
The Israeli hi-tec weapons strike within milicentimetre of their targets against homemade rockets.
With the wonderful record of the UN on human rights in the Sudan and pre-invasion Iraq and his new role as a columnist for El Hayyat, this author’s credentials seem a little hollow and his quaint call for Arab contries to monitor Hamas and each other less than honest and a rather lame attempt to play to the CiF gallery.