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Posted By: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC


Israeli NGO to Goldstone: Your statement is already being used to justify and legitimize future crimes

Apr 05, 2011

Coalition of Women for Peace

Dear Justice Richard Goldstone,

The recent escalation in the Israeli army incursions into the Gaza strip is of grave concern to us at the Coalition of Women for Peace. The prospect of yet another flare out of large scale violence against civilians is alarming. Your recent comments on the Goldstone report are already interpreted by Israeli officials and the mainstream media channels as complete and full absolution of Israel’s military conduct in its entirety. Yet, the conclusions drawn from your statement with respect to Israel’s conduct during the Cast Lead military campaign and especially its aftermath are not backed by any new facts or findings. This seriously undermines the international, Israeli and Palestinian civil society struggle for accountability and against impunity from grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

You state that “we know more today about what happened in Gaza.” Which new facts have been uncovered? We who monitor the Israeli government and the situation closely on the ground know that no information was brought out to contradict the meticulous documentation of the fact finding mission you headed. In fact, it is the international pressure generated by the publication of the Goldstone report that has forced Israel to launch a significant number of investigations in the first place. These investigations corroborate what the Israeli and Palestinian civil societies already know: Israel systematically fails to conduct thorough and impartial investigations meeting international standards. As a matter of fact, most investigations prompted by the Goldstone report have not been completed yet, and those which have been completed generated only three rather minor indictments of lower rank soldiers. Considering the scope of destruction and the civilians killed during operation Cast Lead, it cannot be said that those responsible for grave violations that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity have been brought to justice.

A key contribution of the Goldstone report to the public comprehension of the Israeli/Palestinian reality has been its readiness to approach seriously the actual context of the outbreak of violence in Gaza. This is the persistent blockade imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip, and its continued control on Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The recommendations to Israel – carrying your distinguished signature as a world renowned jurist – clearly addressed the blockade on Gaza, calling on Israel to immediately cease the border closures and allow free passage of goods and people to and from the Strip. The report recommends that Israel release Palestinian political prisoners, and cease actions that limit the expression of dissent by civil society organizations. The innovation of the report was precisely its readiness to acknowledge the overwhelming responsibility of the powerful party in the conflict.

Israel ignored the report and its recommendations, and did not lift the blockade or stop the persecution of Palestinian civilians and human rights defenders. The only notable change in the status quo was the escalation, immediately following the publication of the Goldstone report, of government attacks and the campaign of de-legitimization of human rights organizations and civil society. The Israeli government is currently promoting legislation, which aims at curbing our freedom of expression, freedom of association and basic social and political liberties. This political persecution is further marginalizing and excluding Palestinian and Jewish women in Israel, who oppose the militarized political establishment.

The Goldstone report gave an official international force to the ever increasing demand to hold Israel accountable for grave violations of international law. Your statements undermine the credibility of the United Nations and its ability to effectively enforce international standards of conduct and international humanitarian and human rights law. Now more than ever the stakes are high for those struggling for accountability and against impunity in Israel/Palestine. Your statement raises the stakes further by granting Israel legitimacy it so desperately needs to continue its aggressive campaigns of repression of dissent on the domestic and international front.

Dear Justice Goldstone, we are asking you to do all that is in your power to enable the international community to hold Israeli leaders accountable. Only a serious commitment to accountability, which would end Israel’s impunity can prevent the next war. As it stands now, your statement is already used to justify and legitimize future crimes, even before the next war has started.

Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel)

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Juliano, mourned

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From a twitpic: “A stunning photo of Palestinians holding posters of Juliano Mer-Khamis, a map of Palestine targeted on his heart.”

Here is a statement from the Palestinian Popular Committees against the wall:

In memory of our beloved friend Juliano Mer-Khamis

Juliano Mer-Khamis embodied the uncompromising struggle for freedom and for dignity. With his brutal murder the Palestinian struggle has lost a brilliant charismatic and courageous fighter for justice and freedom. Both parts of his life’s work were seamlessly joined. His art was inseparable from his political commitment. The dignity and humanity which his art sustained were just as important to Palestinian resilience -sumud as his explicitly political work. His life was tragically cut short but he nevertheless managed to live a life full with purpose and meaning. In his typical way he fully dedicated himself to realizing his principles and gave up the comfort of life in Haifa to move to Jenin.

The Freedom theater which Mer-Khamis founded enriched the lives of countless young participants who all loved Juliano and their audience. It demonstrated the resilience of Palestinians, who transcended the most difficult situations to create a lasting legacy of art and consciousness. The effect of the Freedom theater reached far beyond Jenin and even the West Bank. People throughout the world were inspired to support the work of the theater and Palestinian solidarity in general.

We offer his family our condolences and support. We will always remember and miss him. His legacy will continue to inspire us to struggle for dignity and liberation. We will follow Juliano’s example in his work and in his spirit.

Democracy Now had several remembrances of Mer-Khamis this morning. Here is a great statement from New York theater leaders:

The murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis, actor, director,  founder of the Jenin Freedom Theater, in the Jenin Refugee Camp, is an assault on art and artists, peacekeepers and the creative lives of young people who live under the constant threat of violence.

As American theater makers whose work is dedicated to understanding of the other and the self, we condemn this unspeakable act.  We condemn the policy of targeted assassination which is widely practiced, by militant non-state actors, and by governments.

Karen Malpede

George Bartenieff

Theater Three Collaborative

James Nicola

Linda Chapman

New York Theater Workshop

Here is Gideon Levy in Haaretz:

This tall, strapping, handsome man who oozed charisma, a Jew and an Arab on account of his parents – perhaps a Jew in the eyes of the Arabs and an Arab in the eyes of the Jews – decided to devote his life to Jenin, where he lived as an Israeli and as a human being. One of the most talented theater actors to ever emerge here was also the most courageous of them. The seven bullets extinguished the light of courage that he radiated. “Jule was murdered,” a trembling voice belonging to a refugee camp resident on the other end of the phone told me..

Ilene Cohen observes:

It is noteworthy that no Israeli government official that I’ve seen has bothered even to comment on the murder of an Israeli citizen in occupied Palestine. This is, sadly, not surprising, since Juliano was not a beloved settler but an activist whose life was dedicated to opposing the occupation. For Israelis, I would imagine, he was therefore beyond the pale.

Goldstone headed to Israel in July, hosted by Israeli minister criticized in Gaza report for advocating collective punishment

Apr 05, 2011

Adam Horowitz

Ynet is reporting that Richard Goldstone will be headed to Israel in July to tour Sderot and other Israeli towns effected by missile fire from Gaza. Mind you, Goldstone had wanted to visit these towns all along as part of the fact-finding mission into Operation Cast Lead and Israel refused to allow him to enter the country. Now, after his infamous Washington Post op-ed, Israel is waiting for him with open arms.

It’s not clear whether Goldstone will actually actively participate in Israeli hasbara efforts around the report, but it is worrisome that he seems open to possibily undermining it within the UN. Ynet reports:

[Israel’s former ambassador to the UN, Dan Gillerman] urged Goldstone to take additional measures to make sure that the UN Human Rights Council and other human rights organization take heed of his statement.

Goldstone suggested in response to first let the dust settle, but said that he would look into what goes on in the UN council.

This is obviously an ambiguous statement (and most likely based on Gillerman’s interpretation of the conversation), but any intervention Goldstone would make to discredit the report within the UN would be incredibly damaging.

The invitation to Goldstone has been extended by Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai, who also wrote Goldstone a letter following the recent Jerusalem bus bombing and Itamar attack to excoriate him for not speaking out. Yishai wrote in part:

This report that you publicized is what gives legitimacy to terror organizations to continue the cruel and indiscriminate shooting toward civilian settlements in the areas of the state. This report is what calms murderers without a conscience when they come to slaughter innocent children, knowing that they can always be assumed to be sacrifices afterwards.

Where is your voice now, Mr. Goldstone? Where is your voice when Hadas, a baby girl 3 months old, Elad, 4 years old, and Yoav, 11 years old, were slaughtered in their sleep – not by accident – but in cold blood by a despicable murderer?

This might explain why Goldstone made the strange and passing mention to Itamar in the Washington Post op-ed (“So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”). I say it was strange because there has still not been any conclusive answer to who committed the murders in Itamar. To raise it in the context of war crimes committed by Hamas was misleading and irresposible.

Interesting enough, the Goldstone report specificaly quotes Yishai to demonstrate how Israeli leaders were calling for war crimes to be committed in Gaza during Cast Lead. The following is from Chapter 16  of the report which looks at the “objectives and strategy of Israel’s military operations in Gaza“:

The issue that is of special concern to the Mission is the conceptualization of the “supporting infrastructure.” The notion is indicated quite clearly in General Eisenkot’s statements in 2006 and reinforced by the reflections cited by non-serving but well-informed military thinkers.

On 6 January 2009, during the military operations in Gaza, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai stated: “It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so they will understand not to mess with us.” He added that “it is a great opportunity to demolish thousands of houses of all the terrorists, so they will think twice before they launch rockets.” “I hope the operation will come to an end with great achievements and with the complete destruction of terrorism and Hamas. In my opinion, they should be razed to the ground, so thousands of houses, tunnels and industries will be demolished.” He added that “residents of the South are strengthening us, so the operation will continue until a total destruction of Hamas [is achieved].”

On 2 February 2009, after the end of the military operations, Eli Yishai went on: “Even if the rockets fall in an open air or to the sea, we should hit their infrastructure, and destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired.”

The report concludes:

To the extent to which statements such as that of Mr. Yishai on 2 February 2009 indicate that the destruction of civilian objects, homes in that case, would be justified as a response to rocket attacks (“destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired”), the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law. Even if such actions could be considered a lawful reprisal, they do not meet the stringent conditions imposed, in particular they are disproportionate, and violate fundamental human rights and obligations of a humanitarian character.

Of course, Goldstone could use this trip to question Yishai on this call to collective punishment. The Ynet article would seem to indicate he has another agenda on his mind.

Bed, Bath and…Settlements?!

Apr 05, 2011

Rae Abileah

Last Wednesday, March 30, was The Palestinian Land Day, which marked the murder of six unarmed Palestinian protesters in 1976, and the Palestinian Boycott National Committee called for boycott actions around the world to commemorate this day.   West Coast activist groups working for justice in Palestine coordinated to make this a regional day of action.  From Seattle to Los Angeles, over a dozen actions happened on March 30.  Actions included art installations, divestment teach-ins, a billboard unveiling, and creative demonstrations.  West Coast activists participated in the international launch of a new campaign aimed at stopping the infamous land theft organization, the Jewish National Fund, by revoking it’s charity tax status (see  And around the world, from Montreal to Berlin, activists coordinated BDS actions, see  What follows is a report from one coordinated campaign aimed at big box store Bed Bath & Beyond.

On Wednesday, March 30, activists with CODEPINK and Global Exchange delivered a letter with over 2,500 signatures to the management at 15 Bed Bath & Beyond stores asking the retail chain to discontinue sales of products manufactured in illegal Israeli settlements, namely Ahava cosmetics and SodaStream home carbonation systems.  These products are fraudulently labeled as “Made in Israel”, but are in fact produced in illegal settlements under the conditions of the military occupation in the West Bank, outside the internationally-recognized borders of Israel. The petition addressed Bed Bath & Beyond CEO Steven Temares, and activists hope he hears their plea and stops selling products that are in clear violation of international law.

Ahava cosmetics are manufactured in the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Shalem in the occupied Palestinian West Bank. Ahava’s fraudulent labeling is under investigation in the UK and in The Netherlands. The Stolen Beauty Boycott and international boycott pressure have been successfully pressuring stores to drop Ahava.  Stores that have pulled Ahava from their shelves include Canada’s major department store The Bay, UK retailer John Lewis, the National Cathedral in DC, the U.N. commissary in Vienna, and many more.

recent report by the Israeli research project Who Profits from the Occupation describes SodaStream’s illegal settlement activities, exposes its fraudulent labeling practices and investigates its exploitative labor practices.  SodaStream is another occupation profiteer located the illegal industrial zone called Mishor Edomim, one of the largest land expropriations of Palestinian land in the West Bank, which prevents a future contiguous Palestinian state.   The SodaStream factory employs Palestinian workers under the discriminatory and exploitative conditions of the occupation.  SodaStream’s own reports to the U.S. Security Exchange Commission discuss the relative weight of international consumer boycotts and negative publicity against the economic benefits of manufacturing in a settlement industrial zone.  On February 25th, 2010, In a ruling against SodaStream’s distributor in Germany, Brita, the European Court of Justice stated that settlement products are not “Made in Israel”, and therefore they cannot benefit from the trade agreements with the State of Israel.

SodaStream is marketed as an environmentally responsible product, but the destruction of life, land and peace brought about by this settlement industrial zone is anything but environmentally responsible.  Save a few plastic bottles at the expense of trashing Palestinian land and people?  We don’t think so.

The Bed Bath & Beyond website provides an impressive “Code of Conduct” for all its vendors and suppliers, demanding nondiscrimination in hiring practices, fair workers’ wages and benefits, environmental protections and many more legal requirements, which are clearly violated by settlement producers. To be in compliance with its own policies, Bed Bath & Beyond must stop selling Ahava and SodaStream.

Activists in cities through the US delivered the petition.  In San Francisco a group of CODEPINK and Global Exchange activists, including Israeli founder of “Who Profits?” Dalit Baum, delivered the petition and spoke at length with the manager at Bed Bath & Beyond.

In Gainesville, FL, three generations of women delivered the petition. Activist Abigail explained: “My mother, my niece and I delivered the petition… the manager listened politely to our explanation of why carrying such a product in their store is unethical and said he would be sure his ‘higher-ups’ were informed.”

At Bed Bath & Beyond in Canoga Park, CA, Sanaa asked the manager to: “consider how Bed Bath & Beyond is making a statement of their support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine by carrying these products and how doing that inevitably alienates a substantial consumer base that has joined the boycott movement to fight for human rights.”

Kristen wrote from West Los Angeles: “I was jazzed by my visit… the clerk highlighted pertinent bits of our letter, engaged with the information, and thumbed through the pages of signatures… The manager was kind and interested, and called in another who expressed impress by our approach and overall campaign strategy… it seemed that had they been in a position to decide, we would have another store on our list of those that support Palestinian human rights.”

Jeff in Portland described his local manager as “very cordial and curious…” and Sandy in Largo said the manager had read an article about SodaStream and boycotts and was “very friendly & receptive.”  That seems to be the overall sentiment of the day. As CODEPINK LA noted in a report-back from an action at an Ahava retailer in Santa Monica: “People are becoming interested; they want to know. The Israeli occupation will not survive the truth.”

CODEPINK’s Stolen Beauty campaign will continue to collect and deliver signatures to get illegal Israeli settlement products Ahava and Soda Stream out of Bed, Bath & Beyond.

On Land Day other Ahava boycott actions included the delivery of a petition to ULTA headquarters in Chicago asking them to drop Ahava, actions at a DC pharmacy and at Ricky’s in Brooklyn, both of which stock Ahava products, and in Prague, activists coordinated a picket of the Czech Ahava store.

The international boycott of Ahava celebrated a success this week when a news article revealed that the AHAVA shop in London’s Covent Garden, which has been the subject of ongoing and escalating boycott actions for years, will close its doors. And a Los Angeles retailer has vowed to stop stocking AHAVA, after CODEPINK explained it was violating Palestinian human rights by stocking it.

As Jewish Voice for Peace wrote in a statement last month, The escalation of killing in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel reminds us that to end the Israeli occupation, our best hope is supporting the inspiring nonviolent Palestinian movement for change, the Global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

Rae Abileah is a 28-year-old Jewish-American of Israeli descent and is a national organizer with CODEPINK Women for Peace and its Stolen Beauty boycott of Ahava cosmetics.  She lives in San Francisco, CA and can be reached at

The education of Richard Goldstone

Apr 05, 2011

Ahmed Moor

Judge Richard Goldstone made a mistake.

An ardent Zionist, he believed that he could alter the course of the Jewish state’s trajectory. Undoubtedly pained by the actions of his Zionist fellows – and earnestly knowing that it doesn’t have to be this way – he pointed at the ugly things they’ve done and said, “Look.”

The problem, he knew, was not about supremacist ideology. It wasn’t about willful blindness, callous indifference or jingoistic bloodlust either. The Jews of Israel are good and moral, and they just don’t know. If they did, he reasoned, they’d change.

Judge Goldstone would show them what they’ve done, and they’d repent. Or at least they wouldn’t do it again.

But he was wrong.

They knew what they’d done – how could they not? Some of them were willfully blind, or callously indifferent, or were active participants in the massacre.

The Zionists knew their crimes, but more importantly they knew that they’d been betrayed. Didn’t Goldstone know that blood is thicker than truth and integrity? Or that Zionist arms are sanctified by God? Or that his words would rend the community? Young Jews would leave the tribe because of him. He was destroying the Jewish people and Israel would wither and die because of him.

The education of Richard Goldstone began at the age of 71. He aimed to lead the Zionists of Israel out of their barren humanity. And he was savaged for his efforts; he was excommunicated and vilified. Shining a light in the mirror, he saw their bared teeth.

“The Zionists aren’t broken,” they snarled, “You’re broken.”

The Zionists aren’t misguided, they are actively destructive, he learned.

And they were right that Richard Goldstone was broken. He sought to do his job. He applied the same standards he applied everywhere. His methodology was good. But he was still wrong, somehow.

The fallout showed him just how wrong he was. That was when things began to be clearer. Being a Zionist meant that the truth is subordinate, he learned. Israel comes first! In Everything! And then you can do your job, Goldstone! And Never Again, too!

Confronted with a choice – the Tribe or the Truth – he buckled and folded. He repented in the most medieval way, with a public recantation. He took to the pages of the Washington Post to write: “Believe the Zionists; it was my own eyes that lied.”

Now he stands with his beloved community. But will they take him back? Is there a doggie door large enough for him to crawl through?

It’s impossible to know how the judge lost his integrity. Maybe it had to do with the prospect of being buried in a lonely cemetery. Or maybe it’s something more prosaic. Like the pain of not receiving a much-anticipated invitation to something. Perhaps it was the University of Johannesburg’s recent decision to break with apartheid (“You did this to us, Goldstone!”).

Whatever the cause, Goldstone’s shameful behavior has demonstrated that Zionists are not fit to produce and disseminate the truth. Any doubts of the inherent contradictions of the two should be laid to rest now. Goldstone went about as far as any one of them is permitted to and he’s snapping back into the velveteen fold, double-time.

So, Zionism and truth; Zionism and decency; Zionism and integrity; Zionism and liberalism; Zionism and humanity are deeply contradictory. Richard Goldstone’s education began at 71, and lately he’s begun to teach.

On the vital strategic matter of terrorist chickens

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

From Rick Congress’s discussion of Goldstone’s statement:

We have to address the vital strategic matter of terrorist chickens. One of the seemingly bizarre acts of the IDF in Gaza was the killing of 31,000 chickens. These chickens were being raised commercially for eggs and food. Such businesses along with others, a cement factory, fishing boats,etc. and civil facilities such as power plants, public schools and water purification plants were destroyed by the IDF. These sorts of acts (targeting civilian infrastructure) are known to be violations of the Geneva Convention, UN resolutions, and are rightfully condemned world-wide. Condemned as what? As punishing the civilian population — collectively, and intentionally.

One line of reasoning in Israel’s defense would be that these chickens provide nutrition for Gazans, and that the more Gazan children have to eat, the more likely they are to survive and grow up to become if not actual terrorists then “demographic terrorists,” who by their very existence and tendency to reproduce, threaten the future of the Jewish state by staying alive in sufficient numbers to give credibility to the idea that Palestinians actually exist (another terrorist threat to Israel’s existence) and might need a place to live, besides Jordan or Lebanon.

So now we can classify these actions of the IDF as combating terrorism, not of targeting civilian infrastructure.

Brandeis students heckle Knesset members for support of war crimes and racist legislation

Apr 05, 2011

Philip Weiss

Release from Elisha Baskin of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine on Monday night:

WALTHAM, MA – Members of Brandeis Students for Justice in Palestine (BSJP) disrupted a panel discussion of six Members of the Israeli Knesset tonight at Brandeis University.

The action targeted MK Avi Dicther, an international war criminal wanted for crimes against humanity and violations of the Geneva Convention. Dichter ordered the tortures of detained Palestinians while he served as head of Shabak, the Israeli Intelligence Services. In July 2002, Dichter ordered the assassination of a Hamas commander by dropping a one-ton bomb on his home in a residential area, causing the deaths of 15 people, including 9 children, and injuring dozens more.

When Dicther spoke, a dozen Brandeis students stood and demanded that he turn himself in to authorities, distributing warrants for his arrest. In English and in Hebrew, the students listed charges against Dichter, including torture and the bombing of civilians. They ended their disruption by chanting in Hebrew “Don’t worry Avi Dicther, we’ll meet you in the Hague.”

The action aimed to alert the Brandeis community to the presence of a war criminal on campus. “We believe that Avi Dichter must be put to trial for his crimes against humanity,” said participant Liza Behrendt.

Participant Paraska Tolan stated, “War criminals have a right to speak on our campus, but students also have the right to hold them publicly accountable for their crimes. This serves as a message that Dichter should not feel welcome, even at Brandeis University.”

Lisa Hanania, a Palestinian student at Brandeis and member of SJP, said that she was extremely disturbed by the racist comments from some of the MKs. “MK Tzipi Hotovely claimed that ‘Arabs have a different D.N.A. that lacks humanity.’ As a citizen of the Israel, I am deeply concerned that claims as such pave the way for the state to slide into an openly racist ethnocracy.”

Noam Lekach, a first-year from Israel, stated, “Brandeis claims to promote social justice, but today they invited legislators who openly espouse racist attitudes towards Palestinians.”

The students emphasize that, although they targeted Dichter specifically, all MKs should be held accountable for recent racist legislation such as the “Loyalty Oath,” the criminalization of Nakba commemoration, and the institutionalization of residential discrimination.

The island to nowhere

Apr 05, 2011


The plot thickens. It was reported last week, Netanyahu says Abbas must choose peace w/ Hamas or Israel in response to Abbas’s efforts to plunge ahead with his plans to seek UN recognition either from the UN Security Council or General Assembly in September. JPostreports: “According to Israeli officials, the US is also trying to convince various countries to oppose the move.”  There seems to be a little hitch.

But diplomatic officials said that it would be easier to lobby support if Israel had an alternative plan of where things were going.

Oh wow why didn’t I think of that? Want to hear the latest plan?

Channel 2 reported that one plan that was being considered – and has even been discussed in the security cabinet – wasthe construction of a 2 km.-by-4 km. artificial island built 4.5 km. off the coast of Gaza and linked by a bridge. According to the plan, Gaza’s exports and imports would go though this island, which would include a port and an airport. The island would be under the security control of NATO or another international body that would search the cargo going in and out of the Gaza Strip. …….. According to the report, the project – spearheaded by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz – would cost between $5 billion and $10b. and take some six years to build. Katz spoke a number of months ago about the idea with Netanyahu, who told him to develop a plan. Some 17 similar models from around the world were studied and discussed.

Shall we file this under “Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks?”

For news more grounded in rationality emanating from the report:

Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of practicing “political thuggery” against the UN. He said that the international community could no longer tolerate Israel’s “arrogance” and “disrespect” for international laws……… The spokesman also brushed aside the Israeli warnings about a unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state by the UN. He said that the number of countries that recognize Palestine is bigger than those who don’t, and added that all West Bank settlements would be dismantled “sooner or later,” just as they were in the Gaza Strip.

Goldstone and the tribe

Apr 05, 2011

Hatim Kanaaneh

The call issued by angry human rights diehards, incensed by judge Richard Goldstone’s rebuttal of his own former ruling, solidified in its original undiluted form by his well-paid UN position, confirming Israel’s criminality in its attack on Gaza civilians, to dismiss him as a victim of senility makes my blood boil for reasons beyond my age-related infirmity of intentionality, the said judge being my junior by over five hundred days and much more capable of grammatical contortions in hiding what he wants to say so that you are at a loss as to where the subject of his sentence ends or senility sets in. Got that? And I am not a lawyer, mind you. If you didn’t get my drift, let me delve a bit deeper. Here is what the man says in a nutshell:

Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Let us not forget that the man had proven himself beyond a doubt as a veritable artist at adapting to constricting circumstances, a first-rate compromiser and double-dealer if viewed from the vintage point of his former employers. Imagine serving for fourteen years at the top of the Apartheid court system and coming out smelling like a rose. I wonder if anyone has tallied up the list of all the blacks in South Africa whom judge Goldstone sent to jail while he deliberately “undermined apartheid from within the system by tempering the worst effects of the country’s racial laws,” as Wikipedia would have us believe. I actually appreciate the man’s slaving away at making a dent in the system while not abandoning his basic commitment to his own self-interest including, I presume, promotions and a better salary. In my delusional younger years I, for example, tried to work to improve the health of the Palestinian minority in Israel from within the Zionist state system while collecting a good salary and heading a good-size office. And I achieved some miniscule positive results. I appreciate the logical and moral acrobatics that such professional compromising exercises require. It is confusing and I can see why the good judge can’t quite come out and say what is on his cluttered mind at this late stage.

If I have lost you there for a moment, let me backtrack. The man never said he was anything other than Zionist. That does not allow condemnation of Israel under any circumstances. He seeks a moral compromise out of the conundrum: He makes his acceptance of the UN assignment to head the international committee to look into Israel’s possible war crimes in its 2008-9 war against Gaza conditional on investigating Hamas as well and the UN grants him his request. Had he relied on his common horse sense he would have saved himself and us all much time and effort: Hamas never denied targeting what Israel calls its civilian population. So what is there to investigate? Still, we all were impressed by the man’s conclusions putting the blame on both sides and implying equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Richard Goldstone must have thought this was enough of an achievement to blunt the expected outrage of fellow Zionists. Seen from Bibi Netanyahu’s angle this looks very bad for Israel and for Zionism. Richard was identified as another self-hating Jew and targeted for excommunication by the tribe.

I still live in a rural Palestinian community where the clan dominates social relations. For an individual to be shunned by his or her clan spells the ablation of that person’s social and psychological comfort zone. Imagine how much more painful it must be for one to be excommunicated by the entire tribe; your own family threatens to throw you out of your grandson’s bar-mitzvah, not to mention random threats of physical harm. Had Richard been physically eliminated, it would probably have fallen under the rubric of honor killing, not an unknown entity in tribal societies including my own. After all, it has happened in Israel before, and Bibi seemed to have given it an a’priori nod at the time. Would Bibi have named a major square in the center of Tel Aviv after the good judge had it happened to Goldstone before he found a way to appease his critics?

Let us not speculate. The fact of the matter is that Richard has wised up in due time and tried to recant. But he has his international name to worry about too. After all, the Palestinian National Authority saw fit to play with the man’s report as if it were a set of political playing cards, threatening to use it to trump Israel, then magically hiding it for a while and threatening to pull it out of a hat at the right moment. So Richard sets out to bamboozle all concerned with empty doublespeak. “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” Wow! How profound. You could change a comma and, technically, it would be “a different document.” Yet the trick has worked wonders: It gave Richard another chance to come down on Hamas as if we all had thought he had fallen in love with them before. And Bibi is ready to accept the prodigal son back in the fold of the family, provided Richard issues a proper and full formal apology. The problem is that there were some other minor characters who had penned their signature to that document and some of them may not have strong tribal connections here.

It behooves the UN, and I hesitate to extend the generalization to the US, for that would render the recommendation impossible to implement, to refrain from putting the fox in charge of the chicken coop: You cannot appoint an avowed Zionist to investigate Israel unless you want to get a quick clearance. Mind you, I am not accusing my junior friend, Richard, with ill intent or anything unsavory, other than being a Zionist. What I am talking about is the standard precaution that we, physicians, are repeatedly admonished during our training to observe: Never treat a member of your immediate family, except in an emergency of course. The rationale is that you don’t want to let your emotions cloud your medical judgment. This is doubly so when we are dealing with self-diagnosis and treatment. And yet many physicians disregard such advice and treat their next of kin or even themselves. I recall the story in my medical training days in Boston of a third-year surgical resident at a Harvard-associated top-rate hospital who was fired for going overboard in disregarding the above accepted principle of professional conduct: He was caught operating on himself, lying supine on the operating table and using a series of large mirrors to enable himself to perform his own hemorrhoidectomy.

You shouldn’t have, Richard!

This post originally appeared on Dr. Hatim Kanaaneh’s blog A Doctor in Galilee.

Rebels consolidate position in Ajdabiya

Apr 05, 2011


And more news from the Arab uprisings:

At least 50 killed in Libya fighting
At least 50 including rebels, government troops and civilians have been killed in fresh clashes in different cities.

Rebels flee east Libya oil town under rocket fire
NEAR BREGA, Libya, April 5 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fled up to 20 km (12 miles) eastwards under heavy rocket fire from leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces on Tuesday in a sixth day of fighting for the oil port of Brega. Sustained bombardments of rockets and mortars pushed the insurgent caravan of pick-up trucks and cars back towards their Benghazi stronghold, in the biggest retreat in several days of inconclusive battles.

At least 5 killed in Misrata shelling – doctor
RABAT, April 4 (Reuters) – At least five people were killed when forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi shelled a residential area in the besieged city of Misrata late on Monday, a doctor said. “The reception in the hospital is full. Five people were confirmed killed in the last two hours and five more are in critical condition,” the doctor, who gave his name as Ramadan, told Reuters by phone from the city. A second medic said the latest artillery assault on Libya’s third biggest city had left many wounded but medical teams were unable to reach them because sporadic shelling continued.

Evacuees from Libyan town describe massacre
SFAX, Tunisia: Bodies lay in the streets of the besieged Libyan city of Misrata and its hospital is overflowing with injured, an evacuee said Monday after arriving in Tunisia. An aid ship operated by charity Medecins Sans Frontieres docked in the Tunisian port of Sfax carrying 71 wounded people from Misrata, many with bullet wounds and broken limbs and one whose…

Libya’s Wounded Describe Misrata ‘Hell’
SFAX, Tunisia/ BREGA, Libya (Reuters) – Gaddafi forces using tanks and snipers are carrying out a “massacre” in Misrata with corpses on the streets and hospitals full of the wounded, evacuees said, with one describing the besieged city as “hell.” Misrata, Libya’s third city, rose up with other towns against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in mid-February, and it is now under attack by government troops after a violent crackdown put an end to most protests elsewhere in the west of the country.

In pictures
Inside Libya’s battle-scarred city of Misrata.

UN Allies Strike Convoy near Brega as Rebels begin Oil Exports
NATO airstrikes near the oil city of Brega (Marsa al-Buraiqa) on Tuesday morning repelled the advance of an 8-vehicle military convoy of Qaddafi loyalists. The Transitional government in Benghazi is eager to gain control of Brega, from which they were pushed back on Monday night, because they could then export petroleum from it under a deal they have done with Qatar.The significance of the strike on the convoy is manifold. Qaddafi doesn’t have infinite amounts of heavy military equipment, and every tank or armored vehicle he loses degrades his ability to control a country that for the most part doesn’t want him. When urban crowds and rebel forces have faced Qaddafi loyalists and both have just had light arms, the rebels have typically prevailed. Another significance of the strike is that it may well discourage soldiers loyal to Qaddafi from trying to attack the rebels, and may encourage them to defect to the Benghazi government. So far the NATO strikes on Qaddafi convoys have been intermittent, and so many commanders may have thought that the risks are bearable. But if the strikes become more consistent they will likely take a psychological toll.

More civilian victims and thousands of Libyans taking flight, reports the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli
Eight civilians, mostly women and children were killed by bombs released by the international forces,” Nishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli tells Fides.

Libya ‘ready’ to discuss reforms
Information minister says the people will decide their own future, calling Gaddafi a “safety valve” for unity in Libya.

Libya TV shows Gaddafi among supporters
RABAT, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan state television on Monday showed live footage of leader Muammar Gaddafi saluting supporters from a jeep that drove outside his fortified compound of Bab al-Aziziyah in Tripoli. A written newsflash read: “The brother leader among his supporters.”

Qaddafi and rebels look for friends: April 4 Mideast update
Muammar Qaddafi’s forces appear locked in a stalemate with the rebel troops, just east of Brega. Violent clashes within Yemen’s protests reached a milestone. And the Gulf’s economic bloc is in a tussle with Iran.

Libya: Ready For Elections, But Gaddafi Must Stay
TRIPOLI, April 4 (Reuters) – Libya is ready to hold elections and reform its political system but only its own people can decide whether leader Muammar Gaddafi can stay at the helm, a government spokesman said on Monday. “We could have any political system, any changes: constitution, election, anything, but the leader has to lead this forward. This is our belief,” said Mussa Ibrahim, when asked about the content of negotiations with the West.

Libyan rebels reject Gaddafi ‘peace’ overture
Libyan rebels say they would not accept any solution that would leave Muammar Gaddafi or his sons in power in Tripoli.

Malta tells Libyan envoy that Gaddafi must go
VALLETTA, April 4 (Reuters) – Maltese Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi told Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi on Monday that Muammar Gaddafi and his family must relinquish power. Obeidi, an envoy from the Libyan, flew to Malta following talks with government officials in Greece and Turkey on ways to end the Libyan conflict.

Gaddafi envoy Obeidi in talks with Malta PM Gonzi
VALLETTA, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister Abdelati Obeidi was in talks in Malta on Monday with Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi on ways to end the Libyan conflict. Obeidi, an envoy of leader Muammar Gaddafi, flew to Malta folllowing talks with government officials in Greece and Turkey. Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, who had spoken to Greek officials, dismissed Obeidi’s message saying a divided Libya was not acceptable and Gaddafi must quit.

Italy rejects Qaddafi, recognizes Libyan rebel government
Italy today became the third nation to recognize Libya’s rebels as the legitimate government, dealing a blow to attempts by Muammar Qaddafi and his sons to negotiate a diplomatic settlement.

Kuwait to recognize Libyan rebels with days-formin
ABU DHABI, April 4 (Reuters) – Kuwait will officially recognize Libyan rebel forces within days, its foreign minister said on Monday, making it the second Arab state after Qatar to formally acknowledge the group. “We have already recognized them in a practical sense and officially recognizing them will come in a few days,” Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammad al-Salem al-Sabah told Reuters in the UAE capital. Last month, Qatar became the first Arab country to recognise Libya’s rebels as the people’s legitimate representative.

“No breakthrough yet” for Libya truce – Turkey
ANKARA, April 5 (Reuters) – Turkish officials, seeking to broker a ceasefire in Libya’s civil war, said on Tuesday there was no breakthrough in sight with the two sides disagreeing over whether Muammar Gaddafi should stay or go. Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met an envoy from Gaddafi’s government on Monday to talk through broad conditions for a ceasefire and political solution to the conflict, while a delegation from the rebel side is expected to visit Ankara in the coming days for similar discussions.

U.S. Moving to a Support Role in Libya
The United States is removing its warplanes from front-line missions in Libya and is shifting the focus of its operation to a support role, a NATO official said.

Gaddafi planned civilian killings, Hague court says
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court has evidence Muammar Gaddafi’s government planned to put down protests by killing civilians before the uprising in Libya broke out, the ICC’s prosecutor said on Tuesday. The peaceful protests that erupted on February 15 descended into civil war as Gaddafi’s forces first fired on demonstrators, then violently put down the uprisings that followed in the west, leaving the east and the third city of Misrata in rebel hands.

British Foreign Minister William Hague on Libyan crisis
William Hague, the British foreign minister, has been delivering his weekly update to the British parliament. In it, he says that the British government is so far prepared only to supply the Libyan opposition with “non-lethal” equipment. He also said that Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister, will not be considered immune from prosecution and has not been offered any sort of deal.

Angry at shortages, Libyans speak louder of change
TRIPOLI, April 4 (Reuters) – In the maze-like lanes of Tripoli’s medieval market, some Libyans are openly predicting the imminent fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Their tempers appear to have reached breaking point in a city gripped by fuel shortages and long queues for basic goods as rebels based in eastern Libya battle Gaddafi’s forces. “People from the east will come here. Maybe in two weeks,” said one entrepreneur who asked that his name not be used for fear of reprisals. “But now people are afraid.”

US pulls out warplanes from Libya: Pentagon
WASHINGTON – The US military on Monday withdrew its fighter jets from the international air campaign in Libya, officials said, after NATO asked Washington to keep up bombing raids for another 48 hours. The United States had planned to halt combat missions and Tomahawk cruise missile launches at the weekend but accepted a NATO request to continue the operations for another 48 hours until Monday.

Libyan rebels struggle to explain rift
Khalifa Haftar, a former army colonel who recently returned to Libya after living for many years in Falls Church, was initially hailed by the Transitional National Council as a leader who could help discipline the new army and train its largely volunteer ranks.

Iman al-Obeidi, Libya Woman Who Claimed Rape, May Be Free
TRIPOLI, Libya — A Libyan woman who burst into a Tripoli hotel to tell foreign journalists that she was gang raped by Moammar Gadhafi’s troops was quoted by news media Monday as saying she is not in custody. Iman al-Obeidi made headlines Saturday when she was dragged away from the hotel by government officials as she screamed her allegations of rape. A government official said she was a prostitute, but her family said she is a lawyer.

At War: Libya’s Rebel Forces Need More Than Just Weapons
What could blunt government assaults by armored vehicles on rebel positions and anti-Qaddafi cities would be modern, precise anti-tank weapons — but rebels would need weeks of training to put them to use.

Lawmakers: UK misjudged Middle East arms sales (AP)
AP – Britain approved the export of shotguns and tear gas to Libya, machine guns and sniper rifles to Bahrain, and miltary technology to Yemen over the last three years, lawmakers disclosed Tuesday in a report criticizing the governments involved.*

Libyan rebels urgently want to sell oil, gas-UN
UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fighting forces loyal to leader Muammar Gaddafi are worried about their financial resources and want to start exporting both oil and natural gas, the U.N. special envoy to Libya said on Monday. Abdelilah al-Khatib, the former foreign minister of Jordan and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy to Libya, spoke to the Security Council about his recent visits to Libya, where he met with the rebels’ Transitional National Council and members of Gaddafi’s government in Tripoli.

ICC prosecutor wants access to Libya’s Koussa
THE HAGUE, April 5 (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said on Tuesday he wants to speak with former Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa for his investigation into crimes against civilians in the North African state. ICC prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating Muammar Gaddafi, his sons and key aides such as former foreign minister Koussa, who defected to London last month saying he made the decision because of attacks by Gaddafi forces on civilians.

Musa Kusa gets his money back
The U.S. Treasury Department announced on Monday that it was lifting sanctions against Musa Kusa, the former Libyan foreign minister who defected from Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi’s regime and fled to London last week. Kusa was sanctioned as part ofExecutive Order 13566, which included the freezing of all assets belonging to senior Libyan government officials. Since Kusa is no longer a senior Libyan government official, his name will be immediately taken off the Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List and his funds in international banks will now be unfrozen, the Treasury Department said on Monday.

Former Libyan Ambassador: We want America to stay involved
The Libyan rebels’ representative in Washington, Ali Aujali, called on the United States to stay at the fore of the international effort to oust Libyan leader Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi and to give the opposition leadership weapons and access to billions in frozen Libyan assets.”The United States is the major player in this crisis. We want the administration and we want your support to keep the role of the United States alive. We want American to be involved,” Aujali said at the Center for American Progress on Monday. Aujali previously served as Qaddafi’s ambassador to Washington before joining the opposition in February. “For the United States to continue to be a major player in this crisis, this is very important.”

Libyan Rebels Aspire to Democracy
The USG Open Source Center translates an article about a rebel news conference in which they lay out their vision of Libya’ future

Libya’s rebels driven by old grievances, new dreams
Young rebels say the fight represents the chance for more democratic government, better odds of getting a good job and marrying.

“…Those who oppose the Western intervention remain a minority …”
Muammar al-Qaddafi himself labels the intervention a “colonial crusader” war .. Yet there is little evidence that his message is resonating. Arab media and blogs, and wider public sentiment seen in the ongoing demonstrations remain decidedly against him. While we have not had scientific public opinion polls to capture feelings on the street, I have conducted preliminary research with my team using popular websites to try to offer some measure of the public reasoning on Libya. Not surprisingly, there has been ambivalence about intervention, as Arabs are caught between the sense that someone has to intervene to stop Qaddafi on the one hand and mistrust of Western powers on the other. Ideally, they would have loved to see the Libyan story evolve the way of Tunisia and Egypt, but they sense that was not to be. As a consequence, those who oppose the Western intervention remain a minority. (For a flavor of reader comments on two popular websites, and, please see the translation below [3] of 25 consecutive comments on each site. Overall only 28% of Al-Jazeera comments, and 36% of Alarabiya’s opposed military intervention.)

Inside Story: Libya’s peace pleas not enough
After more than a month of fighting, Muammar Gaddafi the Libyan Leader has once again renewed diplomatic efforts seeking an end to the crisis. On Sunday, Abdel Ati Obeidi, Libya’s deputy foreign minister landed in Athens, carrying a message to the Prime Minister from Gaddafi. Gaddafi’s message: to seek an end to the fighting. This was followed by a trip to Turkey and then to Malta. The Greek foreign minister said his country wants to reinforce the demands of the UN resolution. Also Franco Frattini, Italy’s Foreign Minister dismissed Al Obeidi’s message from Gaddafi as “not credible”, reiterating that Gaddafi had to leave power. At the same time, Italy recognised the Libyan Opposition National Council as the only legitimate authority in the country. But Libyan opposition are still refusing any kind of settlement saying they will accept a UN-demanded ceasefire only if Gaddafi pulls his forces from all Libyan cities. Inside Story, with presenter Dareen Abughaida, discusses with guests: Ashur Shamis, a Libyan journalist and writer; Dimitris Papadimitriou, a reader in European Politics at the University of Manchester and Claire Spencer, head of Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House. This episode of Inside Story aired from Monday, April 4, 2011.

Human Rights Watch:  Yemen: Stop Shooting Protesters
(New York) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen should immediately order security forces to cease using unlawful lethal force against protesters, Human Rights Watch said today.

More Yemeni protesters killed in fresh wave of bloodshed
Yemeni police open fire as tens of thousands mass in Taiz while demonstrators in Hudaydah are met with tear gas and bullets. President Ali Abdullah Saleh shows no sign of going quietly amid U.S. and European efforts to broker his exit. The long and incendiary reign of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh shows no sign of ending quietly as fresh bloodshed threatens the nation amid efforts by U.S. and European officials to ease weeks of protest and dangerous political maneuvering that could ignite a civil war.,0,1901671.story

Fresh clashes in restive Yemeni city
A day after at least 15 people were killed, security forces have again fired on anti-government protesters in Taiz.

Yemen accepts GCC call for talks as turmoil rages
Yemen on Tuesday accepted an invitation by Gulf Arab states to hold talks on its weeks-old political crisis in Saudi Arabia as a drive to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh from his three-decade rule gathered pace and as two protesters were shot dead in protests in the western city of Hudaydah.

YEMEN: Children killed, traumatized by upsurge in violence
TAIZ, 5 April 2011 (IRIN) – Mohammed Munif’s three daughters were stunned by the sight of their teacher bleeding from the head after being hit by a stone during a protest, and further traumatized when their 12-year-old brother Ahmad was hit by a stray bullet in Yemen’s highland city of Taiz on 3 April.

Bahrain deports 2 reporters of opposition paper (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition’s main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.*

Bahrain minister talks to opposition on Twitter
In an unprecedented step that seems to herald the end of political negotiations behind closed doors, Bahraini Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa engaged in a dialogue with one of the opposition leaders on the social networking website Twitter.

Other Mideast
Bahrain deports 2 reporters of opposition paper (AP)
AP – Bahraini authorities on Tuesday deported two journalists working for the opposition’s main newspaper, their colleagues said. The government accused Al Wasat newspaper of unethical coverage of the Shiite uprising against the Sunni rulers.*

Bahrain minister talks to opposition on Twitter
In an unprecedented step that seems to herald the end of political negotiations behind closed doors, Bahraini Justice Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ali al-Khalifa engaged in a dialogue with one of the opposition leaders on the social networking website Twitter.

Algeria doctors, militias, students push on with demos
ALGIERS: Auxiliary police, specialist doctors and university students pushed on with strikes and demonstrations in Algeria Monday to press demands including improved pay and conditions. Several members of the security militia spent the night at Martyrs Square in the capital of Algiers and said they would not leave until President Abdelaziz Bouteflika had answered.

Assad appoints new governor for Daraa
In a bid to appease protesters, the Syrian president continues to make new government appointments.

Syria braces for ‘martyrs week’
Syria was on Tuesday braced for the start of “Martyrs Week”, a series of rallies organized by a Facebook group in honor of those killed in security clampdowns on pro-reform demonstrations.”

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