Posts Tagged ‘Goldstone Report’

Open Letter to Justice Richard Goldstone

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

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)

cwp@coalitionofwomen.org

Support for European Parliament’s Endorsement of Goldstone Report

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

The Coalition of Women for Peace (Israel) would like to congratulate the European Parliament on its official resolution, dated March 10th 2010, endorsing the Goldstone Report and its findings. We would like to extend our support to the European Parliament for not succumbing to pressures by the “pro-Israel” lobby and for adopting a resolution that seeks justice and accountability.

As Palestinian and Jewish women, citizens of Israel, we call upon the European Parliament, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Member States – to pressure Israel to implement the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, to investigate the war crimes it committed during the assault on Gaza, to lift the ongoing siege of Gaza, which constitutes a collective punishment of a civilian population, and to end the occupation of Palestinian lands.

In its resolution, the European Parliament also stressed “the importance of the cooperation between official authorities and non-governmental organizations in the follow-up investigations and in the implementation of the Goldstone Report’s recommendations” and expressed its “concern about pressures towards NGOs involved in the elaboration of the Goldstone Report and in the follow-up investigations, [calling] on authorities on all sides to refrain from any restrictive measures towards the activities of these organizations”.

The Coalition of Women for Peace and its member organizations have been one of the targets of these growing assaults from Israeli officials, extremist organizations and journalists, because of our cooperation with the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission and our ongoing struggle against the occupation of Palestine and for a just peace.

In response to this growing wave of assaults on Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations and activists, we urge the European Parliament and the Member States to use any available diplomatic and legal measures to ensure that the Israeli government and parliament will cease all attempts to restrict the work of civil society organizations or to legalize limitations on financial support from European countries and the EC.

We are greatly encouraged by the European Parliament’s involvement towards achieving a just peace in the region, and we call upon you to pressure Israel until it abides by the legal and ethical standards of international human rights and humanitarian law.

Sincerely,

The Coalition of Women for Peace – Israel

http://coalitionofwomen.org/home/english

CWP Update: Goldstone Deadline and the Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

February 4, 2010

CWP Update: The Goldstone Deadline and the Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

1. Call for Action to Mark the UN Goldstone Report Deadline

Friday, February 5th, marks the deadline given by the UN General Assembly to Israel and to  Hamas to launch independent committees to investigate the findings of the Goldstone Report.

The Goldstone Report has concluded that Israel’s offensive against Gaza during Operation Cast Lead was “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”. The fact-finding mission found concrete evidence that Israel committed war crimes such as targeting Palestinian civilian populations, using Palestinians as “human shields”, using white phosphorus munitions and direct and intentional targeting of civilian structures – among them a school, a hospital, a market, a mosque and a humanitarian aid warehouse.

Despite these severe findings, Israel has yet to conduct an independent and reliable investigation of the war crimes it has committed. Nor has Israel ended the siege of Gaza, which is intended to isolate and debilitate Gaza and constitutes a collective punishment of a civilian population.

We feel that it is the obligation of the international community to ensure that Israel will comply with international human rights and humanitarian law. We call on our friends in the international community to mark the February 5th deadline by organizing international actions and demonstrations – calling Israel to investigate the war crimes it committed, to punish those who were responsible for the crimes and to end the siege of Gaza.

Im Tirtzu’s Campaign Against Organizations that Provided Information to the UN Fact-Finding Mission

2. Persecution of Palestinian and Israeli Human Rights Defenders

Ironically, while Israel has not launched an independent committee to investigate war crimes committed in Gaza – the Israeli parliament decided this week to launch a committee to investigate foreign funding of Israeli civil society organizations. This process was sparked by a report published by the Israeli extreme-right organization Im Tirtzu (“if you will it”), citing 16 Israeli human rights organizations that provided evidence for the Goldstone Report and accusing them of collaborating with the enemy.

Among these organizations are the Coalition of Women for Peace, including our project “Who Profits from the Occupation,” and two of our member organizations: New Profile and MachsomWatch. Despite the factual inaccuracies and the anti-democratic premise of this right-wing report, the Coalition is proud to be mentioned among the Israeli organizations that struggle against the war crimes that Israel is committing in Gaza.

This McCarthyist parliamentary committee is part of a new wave of assaults on Palestinian and Israeli activists and organizations that are struggling against the occupation. Further examples are the violent quashing of the Palestinian nonviolent resistance by Israeli security forces, the nighttime raids and arrests of Palestinian organizers and activists, as well as attempts to delegitimize Palestinian human rights organizations.

While these constant assaults on Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders are troubling, we feel that they also represent the growing fear among Israeli officials, who recognize the threat posed by international pressure and by the Palestinian nonviolent struggle. To quote Ben Caspit, a senior Israeli reporter who accused Israeli human rights organizations of destroying Israel from within: “They (Israeli organizations) are winning the war on public opinion, big time. Israel is bleeding, IDF officers are hiding in their headquarters, our leaders are canceling visits overseas, Israeli merchandise is taken off the shelves and this is only the beginning (…) Israel’s image is at an all-time low. International pressure is mounting, and with it the calls for boycott.”

It is clear that international pressure is currently one of the greatest threats to the continuation of the Israeli occupation. Therefore, we call on our international allies to increase this pressure – despite the growing political persecution – so that together we will bring an end to the occupation and justice to all inhabitants of this region.

In Solidarity,

The Coalition of Women for Peace

http://coalitionofwomen.org

(עברית) 95 ארגונים פמיניסטיים מישראל ומהעולם לממשלת בריטניה: אפשרו להעמיד לדין פושעי מלחמה ישראלים

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


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