by Melanie Phillips
In the wake of Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza at the turn of this year, the UN's satirically named 'Human Rights Council' set up what purported to be an objective, fact-finding commission of inquiry under Richard Goldstone, former chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda and a judge of the South African Constitutional Court.
The degree of objectivity on this Commission can be gauged from the mandate it was given by the UNHRC, which announced it was dispatching an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, 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.
So this 'objective' inquiry had been told before it was even established that the guilty party in Gaza was Israel, designated by the UN as the 'occupying power'; that it was guilty of 'aggression' and 'violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law'; and that the Palestinians of Gaza were the victims of this Israeli aggression.
But the aggression and human rights violations committed by Hamas – the cause of the conflict – weren't even to be considered by this objective, fact-finding Commission. Having been set up on the premise that
Publication of this kangaroo court's report is imminent. There are even suggestions swirling today that it is to be published tomorrow – on the Jewish sabbath, when neither
Goldstone himself is utterly compromised by accepting the terms of this rigged mandate which is an affront to justice. As Eye on the UN reports, although he claims to have changed this mandate through informal conversations, this is a load of hooey:
Goldstone, a lawyer and former judge, knows full well that he has no jurisdiction or authority to change the mandate either alone or in informal conversation with anyone. His claims to the contrary, therefore, are a serious ethical and legal breach both to the critics who have accused him of assuming a position tainted from the outset, and to the Council itself.
Now look at the objectivity of the other members of the Commission. Like Goldstone, Ms Hina Jilani and Col Desmond Travers signed a letter last March stating that events in
Now look at the fourth member of this objective 'fact-finding' Commission, Christine Chinkin, Professor of International Law at the London School of Economics.
Last January, she signed a letter in the Times which stated: '
The letter also referred to 'the killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians'; yet Israel's official breakdown of Palestinian casualties in Operation Cast Lead showed the vast majority of Palestinians killed were terrorists:
According to the data gathered by the Research Department of the Israel Defense Intelligence, there were 1166 names of Palestinians killed during Operation Cast Lead. 709 of them are identified as Hamas terror operatives, amongst them several from various other terror organizations. Additionally, there are 162 names of men that have not yet been attributed to any organization. Furthermore, it has come to our understanding that 295 uninvolved Palestinians were killed during the operation, 89 of them under the age of 16, and 49 of them were women.
Nevertheless, 19 British lawyers and academics have now signed an open letter to Chinkin calling upon her to disqualify herself from the Commission on account of her extreme bias. They write:
Judge Richard Goldstone, as head of the mission, promised at the outset that it would be impartial. Impartiality requires that fact-finders be free of any commitment to a preconceived outcome. Because you expressed yourself on the merits of the issues prior to seeing any of the evidence, you cannot be considered impartial.
...As a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, you must recognize that your actions have given rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias. As colleagues in the law and academia, each of us committed to fairness and the principle that justice must be seen to be done, we are disappointed that you have refused to step down. Your continued participation necessarily compromises the integrity of this inquiry and its report.
Now look at the witnesses who gave 'evidence' at this show trial. As NGO Monitor has detailed, many of those chosen to provide testimony in hearings held in
One of the most influential of these NGOs, Human Rights Watch, has a long history of making misleading or false accusations against
Since the end of the
Indeed, there is simply no evidence for them. They are smears. But Goldstone himself was actually a member of the HRW board, only resigning from it after his inquiry began. During the 2006 Lebanon War, when HRW was making a series of highly tendentious claims about
•Human Rights Watch played a central role in the formation of the Mission, and in promoting the anti-Israel bias.The appointment of Goldstone, who was a member of HRW's board and made numerous statements in support of HRW's campaigns on Israel, reinforced this link. A number of HRW 'research reports' were published during this period in order to provide more ammunition to Goldstone and his colleagues.
•... The NGO submissions to the Commission, including from Diakonia and the International Commission of Jurists, consisted largely of emotive and anecdotal remarks, pseudo-legal and –technical rhetoric, and tendentious and irrelevant conclusions.
•... Seven political Israeli NGOs, funded by European governments and the NIF, submitted a joint statement, unsupported by credible evidence, claiming that
•In each of these aspects, the Goldstone Mission has violated the London-Lund guidelines for fact-finding committees, including objectivity, transparency, neutrality, and professionalism.
A profoundly biased commission having reached its conclusion before it even started finding out the 'facts', working to a mandate which declared Israel guilty and gave Hamas a free pass and required evidence to support this malicious falsehood, evidence which it has sought amongst witnesses who overwhelmingly had a history of extreme anti-Israel hostility: unless Richard Goldstone really has managed to change the terms of his mandate, ignored the malice of his witnesses and other commissioners, suppressed his own clearly expressed prior positioning and somehow produced a fair and balanced report, it looks like we are about to witness the next blood libel against Israel wrapped in the spurious mantle of legal and UN authority.
If so, it will set in train a new orgy of libellous Israel-bashing, inflaming not just the Arab and Muslim world to yet more genocidal terror but also inciting western public opinion to even more aggression against Israel and the Jews, and notching up yet another victory for the forces of darkness that now threaten the entire world.
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