Wednesday, March 7, 2012

129 UN Council endorses Gaza war crimes report; calls for investigation

(1) UN Human Rights Council endorses Gaza war crimes report; calls for investigation
(2) Abbas, pressured by Palestinians, reversed his earlier decision to shelve Goldstone report
(3) Israel urges world to reject Goldstone report
(4) Netanyahu says he won't let Israelis be tried for war crimes
(5) ADL head Abe Foxman blames Palestinians & Arabs for "denial of Israel for six decades"
(6) Alan Dershowitz: Jimmy Carter "has been bought and paid for by Arab money" (2007)
(7) Fatah says it's ready to reconcile with Hamas
(8) Volvo providing armored buses for Israeli settlements
(9) Israel says court rulings on Palestinian land are merely 'recommendations'

(1) UN Human Rights Council endorses Gaza war crimes report; calls for investigation

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>  Date: 18.10.2009 01:11 PM

United Nations Human Rights Council endorses Gaza war crimes report

AP 17 October 2009, Times of India

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/United-Nations-Human-Rights-Council-endorses-Gaza-war-crimes-report/articleshow/5133252.cms

GENEVA: The UN Human Rights Council voted on Friday to endorse a Gaza war crimes report that calls on Israel and Hamas to carry out credibleinvestigations into alleged abuses -- or face possible referral to international war crimes prosecutors.

The move -- which was opposed by six nations, including the United States -- means Israel could find itself facing a request at the UN Security Council to refer the case to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, a move likely to be blocked by Washington.

Still, Friday's decision could have far-reaching implications for the way the global body deals with war crimes claims, experts said.

It also keeps attention on the report, compiled by an expert panel chaired by respected South African jurist Richard Goldstone, just as President Barack Obama tries to restart the Middle East peace process. Almost 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict.

The 575-page document concluded that Israel used disproportionate force, deliberately targeted civilians, used Palestinians as human shields and destroyed civilian infrastructure during its incursion into the Gaza Strip to root out Palestinian rocket squads.

It also accused Palestinian armed groups including Hamas, which controls Gaza, of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through years of rocket attacks on southern Israel.

The report recommends that the 15-member Security Council require both sides in the conflict to show within six months that they are carrying out independent and impartial investigations into alleged abuses.

If they are not, the matter should be referred to prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, the report says.

In order to be adopted, a UN Security Council resolution must get nine yes votes, and not be vetoed by a permanent member. The U.S. is likely to use its veto to block any call to get the International Criminal Court involved in the dispute over Gaza or to take action against Israel.

``Politically, this will die in the Security Council,'' said David M. Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University and former prosecutor of the Sierra Leone tribunal, which indicted former Liberian President Charles Taylor

``Ultimately what is going to be done about the report is going to be a political decision and not a legal and procedural one,'' Crane said. But he added: ``In fact I think that we will see more of these, and I'm not saying that's a bad thing.''

M. Cherif Bassiouni, a professor of Law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the International Criminal Court, said that, whatever happens to the report, the decision by the Rights Council has already set a precedent.

``If it sends the report to the Security Council, to the Secretary-General and to the General Assembly, it is sending it not for general informational purposes but for action,'' he said.

Arab and African countries will likely point to any U.S. efforts to block referral to the international court as an example of double standards, since it was Western countries that referred Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court in March for alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes, said Bassiouni.

Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, warned before the vote that it could have far-reaching consequences.

``Whoever votes in favor of endorsing the report must understand that next time it will be the soldiers and officers of NATO in Afghanistan, and then Russian soldiers and officers in Chechnya (who face prosecution),'' Lieberman said late Thursday.

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said the resolution ``provides encouragement for terrorist organizations worldwide and undermines global peace.''

U.S. diplomat Douglas M. Griffiths told the council that Washington was disappointed with the outcome, in which the report was endorsed by a vote of 25-6. The United States and five European countries -- Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine --opposed the resolution, while 11 mostly European and African countries abstained. Britain, France and three other members of the 47-nation body declined to vote. Russia and China, two permanent members of the UN Security Council, were among those voting yes.

``We're focused on moving forward in the peace process and we feel that this is a distraction from that,'' Griffiths told The Associated Press.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters the resolution had ``an unbalanced focus and we're concerned that it will exacerbate polarization and divisiveness.''

Israel has said continuing focus on its actions in the Gaza conflict could derail what should be seen as the more important efforts to restart talks toward a peace deal and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

``Any action against Israel in this area is incompatible with negotiations and concessions,'' said Eytan Gilboa, an expert on U.S.-Israel relations at Bar Ilan University.

Israel's desire to push forward with the peace process is not clear. Several months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under U.S. pressure, joined his predecessors in endorsing Palestinian statehood, albeit grudgingly and with caveats. But the idea is not popular with rightist members dominant in his coalition, and efforts to coax Israel into halting all settlement construction in the West Bank have not succeeded, resulting in apparent stalemate.

Among the Palestinians, both Hamas and the rival Fatah faction that controls the West Bank welcomed Friday's vote.

``What is important now is to translate words into deeds in order to protect our people in the future from any new aggression,'' Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said in Ramallah.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian Authority's UN observer in New York, said a coordinating body comprising leaders of the main Arab, Islamic and developing nation groups at the United Nations will chart the road ahead.

``We would have liked to have more support,'' Mansour said. But he added that, now that the Human Rights Council has approved the resolution, it is time to move ahead.

(2) Abbas, pressured by Palestinians, reversed his earlier decision to shelve Goldstone report

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date:  15.10.2009 04:32 PM

Abbas reverses "Gaza report" decision

October 15, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/15/world/middleeast/15nations.html?_r=1&hp

Palestinians, in Reversal, Press U.N. Gaza Report

By SHARON OTTERMAN and NEIL MacFARQUHAR

The Palestinian leadership attempted to regain lost credibility by pressing forward a United Nations report on the Gaza war at a specially scheduled debate at the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday, saying it would call for a formal endorsement of the report this week in Geneva.

The Security Council debate represented the first major step in the Palestinian effort to reverse its surprise decision two weeks ago to delay action on the report, which found evidence of Israeli war crimes, at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The decision, made under American pressure after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened that the advance of the report would end any chance of peace talks, prompted a strong backlash against President Mahmoud Abbas. ...

(3) Israel urges world to reject Goldstone report

Oct 14, 2009 0:22 | Updated Oct 14, 2009 19:09

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1255450644782&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Ahead of Wednesday's UN Security Council debate set to be used by Palestinian diplomats and representatives of Arab states to press for action on the Goldstone Report, Defense Minister Ehud Barak held a series of phone conversations with world statesmen and diplomats in a bid to convince them not to adopt the findings of the report, which accuses Israel of committing war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last winter.

Among others, Barak spoke with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, British Foreign Minister David Miliband, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos and Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store. ... 

The Security Council meeting was moved up from October 20, after a Libyan request for an "emergency" session to discuss the Goldstone document was denied.

Palestinian officials have rallied support at the UN among countries that plan to weigh in on the report, produced last month by a four-person commission headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone.  ...

(4) Netanyahu says he won't let Israelis be tried for war crimes

From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date:  14.10.2009 06:22 PM

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1120498.html

Last update - 23:20 12/10/2009 

Netanyahu vows never to let Israelis be tried for war crimes

By Haaretz Service and News Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that he would never allow any of the Israel's leaders or soldiers to be put on trial for war crimes.

Netanyahu opened his fiery speech at the inauguration of the Knesset's winter session by blasting the Goldstone Commission's report sponsored by the United Nations, that accused Israel of committing war crimes during its war against militants in the Gaza Strip last year.

Israel has the right to defend itself, Netanyahu declared, and would not acquiesce to a situation where wartime leaders or troops who participated in the operation stand trial.

"This distorted report, written by this distorted committee, undermines Israel's right to defend itself. This report encourages terrorism and threatens peace," Netanyahu said. "Israel will not take risks for peace if it can't defend itself." ...

Following weeks of criticism, President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday retracted the deferral and ordered his envoy to the United Nations to resubmit the report. ...

Netanyahu has raised the demand for Palestinian acceptance of Israel as Jewish state before. For him, it is a way of ensuring recognition of Israel's right to exist - as opposed to merely recognizing Israel - which he and many other Israelis see as the real core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Turning to the subject of Iran and its nuclear ambitions, he called on all responsible states in the world to ensure that Tehran did not get atomic weapons. ...

(5) ADL head Abe Foxman blames Palestinians & Arabs for "denial of Israel for six decades"

September 16, 2009, NY Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/opinion/l16mideast.html?sq=foxman&st=cse&scp=1&pagewanted=print

Voices Across the Mideast Divide

To the Editor:

Re “Squandering the Moment” (editorial, Sept. 15):

In criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to build new settlements, you say, “That may play well in Israeli polls, but it has given Arab leaders a powerful excuse to do nothing.”

For Mr. Netanyahu, it is not merely polls that he has to worry about but his governing coalition. His announcement of a partial settlement freeze has already shaken some of his support.

More significantly, you get it right by referring to Arab refusal to take steps toward accepting Israel on the basis of Mr. Netanyahu’s settlement declaration as an “excuse.”

The truth is that Palestinians and Arabs have been making excuses about their denial of Israel for six decades. Sometimes the excuses are more plausible, sometimes less. But they are excuses and the core problem as to why this bloody conflict has lasted so long.

This is an important distinction. It does not diminish Israel’s need to deal with settlements in a reasonable way, but it puts the issue in proper context. When settlements are described as the issue, we lose sight of the fundamentals of the historic Arab war against Israel, and we make it even more difficult to achieve a breakthrough.

Abraham H. Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League
New York, Sept. 15, 2009 ==

To the Editor:

As an American citizen of Jewish descent, and one who fully supports the state of Israel, I find it difficult to accept the attitude of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with regard to the settlement issue.

The continued spread of Israeli settlements is the main obstacle to continued nonviolence in the region, and the key to bringing the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and Mr. Netanyahu together and resuming peace talks here in New York this month.

President Obama needs to be very clear with Mr. Netanyahu that although the United States will always support Israel against its enemies, we will not accept its expansion with regard to additional settlements.

Our president must use the power of his office, and state without equivocation that if Israel continues to build settlements, America will cut financial and military aid until it ceases and desists.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York, Sept. 15, 2009

(6) Alan Dershowitz: Jimmy Carter "has been bought and paid for by Arab money" (2007)
From: IHR News <news@ihr.org> Date:  14.10.2009 06:22 PM

http://www.gather.com/viewArticlePF.jsp?articleId=281474976879837

Ex-President for Sale
January 08, 2007 11:51 AM EST
© 2007 by Alan M. Dershowitz

It now turns out that Jimmy Carter--who is accusing the Jews of buying the silence of the media and politicians regarding criticism of Israel--has been bought and paid for by Arab money.  In his recent book tour to promote Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, Carter has been peddling a particularly nasty bit of bigotry.  The canard is that Jews own and control the media, and prevent newspapers and the broadcast media from presenting an objective assessment of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and that Jews have bought and paid for every single member of Congress so as to prevent any of them from espousing a balanced position.  How else can anyone understand Carter’s claims that it is impossible for the media and politicians to speak freely about Israel and the Middle East?  The only explanation – and one that Carter tap dances around, but won’t come out and say directly – is that Jews control the media and buy politicians.  Carter then presents himself as the sole heroic figure in American public life who is free of financial constraints to discuss Palestinian suffering at the hands of the Israelis.

Listen carefully to what Carter says about the media: the plight of the Palestinians is “not something that has been acknowledged or even discussed in this country... You never hear anything about what is happening to the Palestinians by the Israelis.” He claims to have personally “witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts.”  He implies that the Jews impose these “severe restraints.”  He then goes on to say that the only reason his book--which has been universally savaged by reviewers--is receiving such negative reviews is because they are all being written by “representatives of Jewish organizations” (demonstrably false!).  So much for the media.

Now here is what he says about politicians:

“It would be almost politically suicidal for members of Congress to espouse a balanced position between Israel and Palestine, to suggest that Israel comply with international law or to speak in defense of justice or human rights for Palestinians. Very few would ever deign to visit the Palestinian cities of Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron, Gaza City or even Bethlehem and talk to the beleaguered residents.”

Each of these claims is demonstrably false, as I have shown in detail elsewhere. The plight of the Palestinians has been covered more extensively, per capita, than the plight of any other group in the world, certainly more than the Tibetans and the victims of genocides in Darfur and Rwanda.  Moreover, Carter totally ignores the impact of Arab oil money and the influence of the Saudi lobby.  In numerous instances where the Arab lobbies have been pitted against the Israeli lobby, the former has prevailed.

Even beyond these nasty canards, the big story that the media and political figures in America have missed is how grievously they, themselves have been insulted and disrespected by our self-righteous former president.  Carter is lecturing The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and the major networks about how they are incapable of reporting the news objectively because they are beholden to some Jewish cabal.  He is telling Pulitzer Prize winning writers such as Tom Friedman and Samatha Power that they did not deserve their prizes.  He is telling George Will that his reporting is controlled by his Jewish bosses (sound a little bit like Judith Regan?).  And he is denying that Anderson Cooper is capable of filing an honest report from the West Bank.

As far as our legislators are concerned, he is accusing Barack Obama, John McCain, Hillary Clinton, and Patrick Leahy of being bought and paid for by the Israeli lobby.  On Planet Carter, even congressmen with no Jewish constituents would be committing political suicide by taking a balanced position on the Middle East.  What an outrageous insult to some of the best journalists and most independent political figures in the world.

At the bottom, Carter is saying that no objective journalist or politician could actually believe that America’s support for Israel is based on moral and strategic considerations and not on their own financial self-interest.  Such a charge is so insulting to every honest legislator and journalist in this country that I am amazed that Carter has been let off the hook so easily.  Only the self-righteous Jimmy Carter is capable of telling the truth, because only he is free of financial pressures that might influence his positions.

It now turns out that the shoe is precisely on the other foot.  Recent disclosures prove that it is Carter who has been bought and paid for by anti-Israel Arab and Islamic money.

Journalist Jacob Laksin has documented the tens of millions of dollars that the Carter Center has accepted from Saudi Arabian royalty and assorted other Middle Eastern sultans, who, in return, Carter dutifully praised as peaceful and tolerant (no matter how despotic the regime). And these are only the confirmed, public donations.

Carter has also accepted half a million dollars and an award from Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan, saying in 2001: "This award has special significance for me because it is named for my personal friend, Sheik Zayed bin Sultan al-Nahyan." This is the same Zayed, the long-time ruler of the United Arab Emirates, whose $2.5 million gift to the Harvard Divinity School was returned in 2004 due to Zayed's rampant Jew-hatred. Zayed's personal foundation, the Zayed Center, claims that it was Zionists, rather than Nazis, who “were the people who killed the Jews in Europe” during the Holocaust. It has held lectures on the blood libel and conspiracy theories about Jews and America perpetrating Sept. 11.

Another journalist, Rachel Ehrenfeld, in a thorough and devastating article on "Carter’s Arab Financiers," meticulously catalogues Carter’s ties to Arab moneymen, from a Saudi bailout of his peanut farm in 1976, to funding for Carter’s presidential library, to continued support for all manner of Carter’s post-presidential activities.  For instance, it was the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), founded in Pakistan and fronted by a Saudi billionaire, Gaith Pharaon, that helped Carter start up his beloved Carter Center.  According to Ehrenfeld:

“BCCI's origins were primarily ideological. [Agha Hasan] Abedi wanted the bank to reflect the supra-national Muslim credo and ‘the best bridge to help the world of Islam, and the best way to fight the evil influence of the Zionists.’

As Ehrenfeld concluded:

“[I]t seems that AIPAC's real fault was its failure to outdo the Saudi's purchases of the former president's loyalty. There has not been any nation in the world that has been more cooperative than Saudi Arabia," The New York Times quoted Mr. Carter June 1977, thus making the Saudis a major factor in U. S. foreign policy.

”Evidently, the millions in Arab petrodollars feeding Mr. Carter's global endeavors, often in conflict with U.S. government policies, also ensure his loyalty.”

It is particularly disturbing that a former president who has accepted dirty blood-money from dictators, anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, and supporters of terrorism should try to deflect attention from his own conflicts of interest by raising the oldest canard in the sordid history of anti-Semitism: namely, that Jews have dual loyalty and use their money improperly to influence the country they live in, in favor of the country to which they owe their real allegiance.  Abraham Foxman responded to Carter’s canard as follows:

As disturbing as Carter’s simplistic approach is, however, even more disturbing is his picking up on the Mearsheimer -Walt theme of Jewish control of American policy, though in much more abbreviated form and not being the focus of his work. Referring to U.S. policy and the “condoning” of Israel’s actions, Carter says: “There are constant and vehement political and media debates in Israel concerning its policies in the West Bank but because of powerful political, economic, and religious forces in the U.S., Israeli government decisions are rarely questioned or condemned, voices from Jerusalem dominate our media, and most American citizens are unaware of circumstances in the occupied territories.” In other words, the old canard and conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the media, Congress, and the U.S. government is rearing its ugly head in the person of a former President.

As noted above, the most perverse aspect of Carter’s foray into bigotry is that as he pours this old wine into new bottles he is himself awash in Arab money.  When a politician levels these kinds of cynical accusations against others, it would seem incumbent on him to show that his own hands are clean and his own pockets empty.

Accordingly I now call upon Carter to make full public disclosure of all of his and the Carter Center’s ties to Arab money.  If he fails to do so, I challenge the media to probe deeply into his, his family’s, and his Center’s Arab ties so that the public can see precisely the sources and amounts of money he has received and judge whether it has corrupted the process of objective reportage and politics by Carter and others who have received such funds.  Finally, I ask the appropriate government agencies to conduct an investigation into whether Carter should be required to register as a lobbyist for foreign interests.

Let’s stop invoking discredited ethnic stereotypes, look at the hard facts, and actually see who’s being bought and sold.
Alan Dershowitz is a professor of law at Harvard.  His most recent book is Preemption: A Knife that Cuts Both Ways (Norton, 2006)

Join the conversation and read Alan Dershowitz' exclusive six part series "Ex-President for Sale" on Gather at alandershowitz.gather.com

(7) Fatah says it's ready to reconcile with Hamas

By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH (AP) – 1 hour ago

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jU4LtM8rzlrJiHp2DkLMQGFItAmwD9BAVVSO0

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party on Wednesday said it had accepted a proposal to hold new presidential and legislative elections next year as part of a broad package meant to end a bitter rivalry with the Islamic militant group Hamas.

Fatah official Mohammed Dahlan said the party had signed the Egyptian-mediated proposal and was dispatching an envoy to Cairo on Thursday to deliver the response. With Egypt seeking a response by Thursday, it remained unclear whether Hamas would accept the deal.

"We have accepted the Egyptian request. Fatah doesn't want to put any obstacles in the way of efforts for national reconciliation. Whoever doesn't respond positively to these efforts will be held responsible," Dahlan said. ...

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

(8) Volvo providing armored buses for Israeli settlements

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu>  Date: 18.10.2009 01:11 PM

Volvo providing armored buses for Israeli settlements

Wednesday, 07 October 2009 ,Adri Nieuwhof

http://www.therebel.org/business/middle_east/volvo_providing_armored_buses_for_israeli_settlements_2009100766529/

Merkavim's promotional video shows Israeli soldiers boarding an armored bus.

Following reports published by The Electronic Intifada on the use of Volvo equipment in the demolition of Palestinian houses in 2007, the Volvo Group stated that it did not condone the use of its equipment for such purposes. Claiming to have no control over the use of its products, Volvo affirmed that its Code of Conduct decries unethical behavior. In spite of these claims, The Electronic Intifada has found that through its Volvo Buses branch, the Volvo Group is providing armored buses to transport Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Volvo Buses is co-owner of Merkavim Ltd., an Israeli transport technology company. Another shareholder in the company is Mayer's Cars and Trucks, the exclusive Israeli representative of companies from the Volvo Group. According to Merkavim's website, the company was chosen by Volvo as "its major body builder in the Middle East." However, the Who Profits from the Occupation? project recently reported that Merkavim manufactures an armored version of Volvo's Mars Defender bus for the Israeli public transport company Egged. Egged uses the Mars Defender to provide bus services for illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

(9) Israel says court rulings on Palestinian land are merely 'recommendations'
From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <sadanand@mail.ccsu.edu> Date: 16.10.2009 12:29 PM

13/10/2009

Israel sees court rulings on Palestinian land as mere 'recommendations'

By Akiva Eldar, Haaretz Correspondent

So what if the Supreme Court rules? In Israel those decisions are just recommendations, especially if they deal with Palestinian land. In most enlightened democratic countries, saying that decisions of the courts obligate the state authorities is like stating that the sun rises in the east. But that may not be so for Israel.

Last week, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch had to state that "rulings of this court are not mere recommendations, and the state is obliged to abide by them and to execute them with the necessary speed and efficiency, according to the circumstances of the matter."

The head of the judicial system added: "In the case before us, the state took the law into its own hands."
      
The case dates back to June 2006. The High Court of Justice at that time responded to a petition from Hamoked - the Center for the Defense of the Individual, and instructed the Defense Ministry to move the route of the separation fence near the villages of Azzun and Nabi Ilyas in the northern West Bank. ...

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