BY FRANK P. BELCASTRO
The Goldstone Commission report detailed the results of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict. These findings included the recommendation that both Hamas and the Israeli government bring to justice those responsible for war crimes during the three weeks of fighting in late December and early January.
The UN has special responsibility for human rights in territories under belligerent military occupation, since the treatment of civilians in such territories falls under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The Goldstone Commission report cited in detail a whole series of violations of the laws of war by Hamas, including rocket attacks into civilian-populated areas of Israel. The ratio of civilian casualties inflicted by the Israelis relative to those inflicted by Hamas was more than 250:1, partly because the rockets were highly inaccurate.
The report also concluded that Israel’s military assault on Gaza was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish humiliate and terrorize a civilian population,” citing Israel’s deadly attacks against schools, mosques, private homes and businesses nowhere near legitimate military targets. These conclusions echo detailed empirical reports released in recent months by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, among others.
Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in Washington has joined the Republicans in a campaign, in effect, to kill the messenger: attack the United Nations, Amnesty International, or anyone else — be they journalist, scholar, activist, or even one of the world’s most respected jurists, Goldstone — who dares put forward credible evidence of human rights abuses by the United States or its allies by opposing the report.
– Frank P. Belcastro lives in Dubuque, IA and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer