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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Witness confronts Goldstone

On Tuesday, I blogged an op-ed from Canada's National Post that was written by a woman who was wounded in a Kassam attack in Ashkelon. The woman was a gynecologist named Dr. Mirela Siderer (pictured). On Tuesday, she confronted Goldstone at a hearing in front of the UN 'Human Rights Council' in Geneva.

Here's what UN Watch - which arranged to bring Dr. Siderer to Geneva - has to say about her testimony.
Geneva, September 29, 2009 - The U.N. Human Rights Council plenary witnessed a dramatic face-off today when the head of its controversial "fact-finding" mission on Gaza -- in which Israel was declared guilty from the start -- was unexpectedly confronted by one of his own witnesses.

In a surprise appearance arranged by the Geneva human rights organization UN Watch, Dr. Mirela Siderer -- an Israeli doctor who was brutally disfigured in 2008 by a rocket attack fired from Gaza into her Ashkelon medical clinic -- pointedly accused Goldstone of ignoring her July oral testimony in his report, and of failing to disclose material information concerning the prior statements of the Human Rights Council and panel members declaring Israel guilty in advance.


The speech was published in full today by Canada's National Post, and covered widely in Switzerland, Israel and worldwide.

Sitting on the dais, Goldstone was visibly shaken by Dr. Siderer's challenge and scrambled for a copy of her speech. His response to the plenary ignored 7 of her questions, and inadequately responded to the 8th.


For UN Watch's play-by-play Twitter of today's heated debate, click here.
I held this post since yesterday afternoon because I was trying to embed the video for you. Unfortunately, I have not been able to embed it. You can watch the video by going here. If I am able to embed the video later, I will update the post.

Here's a transcript of what Dr. Siderer said:
My name is Dr. Mirela Siderer. I am a gynecologist living in Ashkelon, Israel.

Judge Goldstone, in July you invited me to testify. I told you my story. I am known by my patients -- including many women from Gaza. For me, every human being is equal.

On May 14, 2008, my life was changed forever. I was working in my clinic. Suddenly, the building was hit by a missile, fired from Gaza. I was terribly wounded. Blood was everywhere. My patient was also wounded, and more than 100 others. Next month will be my eighth operation.

Judge Goldstone, I told you all of this, in detail. I testified in good faith. You sent me this letter, saying, "Your testimony is an essential part of the Mission's fact-finding activities."

But now I see your report. I have to tell you: I am shocked.

Judge Goldstone, in a 500-page report, why did you completely ignore my story? My name appears only in passing, in brackets, in a technical context.

I feel humiliated.

Why are there only two pages about Israeli victims like me, who suffered thousands of rockets over eight years?

Why did you choose to focus on the period of my country's response, but not on that of the attacks that caused it?

Why did you not tell me that this council judged Israel guilty in advance, in its meeting of last January?

Why did you not tell me that members of your panel signed public letters judging Israel guilty in advance?

Judge Goldstone, you, too, signed such a letter, saying you were "shocked" about Gaza.

But where were you when Gaza attacked my medical clinic, in violation of international human rights and humanitarian law?

Where was this council? Why were you all silent?
Here's Goldstone's response:
With regard to the statement made by Dr. Siderer, I'm clearly upset that she feels humiliated by the report. She was treated in the report in no way different to that of other victims who spoke to us. She was referred to in the report as one of the people who was injured as a result of a rocket attack on a shopping center in Southern Israel. The report also refers to the fact that the evidence of the people who gave evidence to us are available on the website of the OHCHR. It is there for anybody to see.
I wonder if Goldstone was awake when she testified. Heh.


At 8:31 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm glad they brought her there. No - I hadn't expected Goldstone and his fellow panelists to show shame. Rather, I'm delighted to see them hoist on their own petard.

It turned the table around from Israel to its accusers. They should be the ones sitting in the dock.



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