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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Senate letter seeks to block action on Goldstone

A letter being circulated by two members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee - Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) - is said to ask Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US State Department to block any action against Israel arising out of the Goldstone Report (Hat Tip: Daled Amos).
There are many serious flaws with the Goldstone report and the entire investigatory process. The Goldstone mission’s mandate was imbalanced from the start. The fact that the mission exceeded this mandate by also criticizing some of Hamas’ activities does not diminish the problem that the vast majority of the report focuses on Israel’s conduct, rather than that of Hamas. The report further fails to acknowledge Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism and other external threats, a right of all UN Members under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The report ignores the fact that Israel acted in self-defense only after its civilian population suffered eight years of attacks by rockets and mortars fired indiscriminately from Gaza. Furthermore, the report does not adequately recognize the extraordinary measures taken by the Israel Defense Forces to minimize civilian casualties, which frequently put Israeli soldiers at risk.

As the State Department has stated, Israel is a democratic country, like the UnitedStates, with an independent judiciary and democratic institutions to investigate and prosecute abuses. The Israel Defense Forces have a reputation for investigating alleged violations of international law and its internal military code of conduct. As a law-abiding state, Israel is in the process of conducting numerous investigations for which it should be commended not condemned.

We hope you will succeed in your efforts to ensure that consideration of the report at the current meetings of the UN Human Rights Council will not provide an opportunity for Israel’s critics to unfairly use the Council and the report to bring this matter to the UN Security Council.
I would have thought that the letter could have been a bit more forceful. I would have said "We urge you to ensure..." instead of "We hope you will success in your efforts to ensure...." But I suppose it's better than nothing. Let's see how many Senators sign on.


At 5:50 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I predict a lot of Senators are going to sign on. There is no other country that is going to be as forceful in standing alongside Israel as America - Obumbler notwithstanding. Goldstone deserves to be consigned to be emptied from history's trash bin.


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