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Israel Gears Up For Goldstone

Israel Likely To Consider Independent Inquiry Into Goldstone Allegations After Hostile UN Vote

Israel's Counter-terror Operation To Halt Eight Years Of Palestinian Rocketing From Gaza 'Investigated' By Human Rights While Similar Wars In Iraq, Afghanistan & Chechnya Are Ignored As Is China's Brutal Conquest Of Tibet

IsraCast Proposal: 'Israel Should Initiate International Move To Draft New Convention On Conduct Of Counter- terror Warfare Which'

 Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his cabinet are now considering how to react to the decision by the UN Human Rights Council to adopt the Goldstone Report that accuses the israel Defense Forces of alleged war crimes during its 'Cast-Lead' operation into Gaza to halt eight years of Palestinian rocketing. IsraCast Assessment: Israel likely to consider independent inquiry in order to cope with what appears to be an escalated diplomatic war against the Jewish state by the pro- Arab bloc at the UN.

Early last year, Israel launched the 'Cast Lead' Operation into Gaza - its mission was to stem the eight years of Palestinian rocketing that terrorized Israeli civilians just over the border. Now Israel is forced to embark on a new and different offensive to combat the insidious diplomatic warfare being waged against the Jewish state from within the UN. On October 16th, the UN's Human Rights Council in Geneva voted 25-6 for a resolution that condemned Israel for alleged human rights violations but made no mention of Hamas and its ongoing terror campaign Israel. As usual the 'automatic majority' of Arab, Muslim and Left-wing Latin American states made up mostly of the 25 votes in favor of the resolution. Nor was it any surprise that such paragons of human rights as Russia and China also voted for what any fair-minded assessment would judge to be a distorted and one-sided ploy. None of the European democracies supported it while six of the 47-member UN body voted against: the US, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Holland, Slovakia and Ukraine. Eleven mainly European and African countries abstained. Britain, France and 3 other members declined to vote.

The Council recommended that the UN Security Council require both Israel and the Palestinians to conduct independent and impartial inquiries into the alleged abuses. If they do not, the issue should then be referred to the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Implications... The pro-Arab bloc rules the roost at the controversial Human Rights Council which spends most of its time condemning Israel. Nearly all its numerous resolutions against Israel have been shrugged as little more than propaganda exercises; however, this time the resolution could provide a legal pretext for private legal proceedings where they are now permitted in such countries as Britain and Spain. A pro-Palestinian group in Britain tried to have Defense Minister Ehud Barak detained during his recent visit to Britain but the judge ruled against because Barak was on official business in Britain. However, cabinet minister Moshe Ya'alon, a former IDF Chief of Staff has postponed a planned trip to Britain out of concern that trumped up charges against him could also lead to his detention and possible prosecution. On the other hand, Jerusalem would count on the US to cast its veto in the Security Council against any future Arab move to send the case to the International Court of Justice in the Hague.

In response, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the Council's condemnation declaring:' Israel must be prepared for a protracted struggle against those who would try to deligitimize us!' While six members of the Human Council stood up to the 'automatic majority' and eleven more abstained, Britain and France simply declined to vote. Although Britain herself has been fighting in counter-terror wars with far greater civilian casualties in both Iraq and Afghanistan, nonetheless the Brits chose to be absent from the vote rather than supporting Israel in her war against terror. In fact, British Army Colonel (ret) Richard Kemp, who served as a commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the Council that the Israel Defense Forces had actually taken ' extraordinary measures' to warn Palestinian civilians to evacuate areas occupied by terrorists before the IDF attacked. Col.Kemp noted the IDF had dropped two million leaflets and made 100,000 telephone calls to Palestinians in advance of Israeli offensives. The British officer referred to the terrorists' tactic of operating from inside Palestinian civilian neighborhoods noting: 'Despite the Israeli warnings, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and NATO forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error, but mistakes are not war crimes'.

On a previous occasion, after studying the 'Cast Lead Operation' Col. Kemp declared:'The Israel Defense Forces are the most moral army in the history of warfare'. This was apparently not enough for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown or his Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who like the French and three other members, decided not to participate in the vote rather than backing Israel against the Muslem bloc plus Russia and China. However, Prime Minister Brown and French President Nicola Sarkozy later sent a message to Netanyahu justifying Israel's right to self-defense while also calling on Israel to conduct an impartial investigation.

Canada, whose three-year term on the Human Rights Council ended earlier this year took a more unequivocal stand. Speaking in Ottawa, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon issued a statement saying: ' The Goldstone Report began with a mandate to condemn the Jewish state in a process that Canada and many other nations could not support'. And the official added: ' Canada has never equated Israel, a democratic state, with terrorist groups that seek to destroy both it and its people'.

Binyamin Netanyahu (Photo: Amit Shabi)

The Israeli government viewed the entire Goldstone enquiry as nothing more than a kangaroo court that was sicked on the Jewish state by the pro-Arab Council. Therefore, it refused to cooperate with such a biased body that would not give Israel a fair hearing. However, the potential involvement of the International Criminal Court in the Hague has obviously caught Jerusalem's attention no matter how preposterous the Goldstone Report may be in Israeli eyes. Prime Minister Netanyahu is setting up a legal and diplomatic team to deal with the threat.

Professor Amnon Rubinstein, a well-know and respected jurist, has called the Goldstone Report and the Human Rights Council's resolution a 'monstrous caricature' of justice. However, he adds Israel should comply by setting up an independent inquiry chaired by a Supreme Court judge. Rubinstein found impossible to comprehend how the Goldstone Report glossed over the eight years of Palestinian rocketing and the Nazi-like Hamas whose covenant calls openly for the annihilation of Israel. In his view, there was no question the Human Rights Council recruited the Goldstone Inquiry for the sole purpose of condemning Israel. As for

Richard Goldstone, the South African Jewish judge, who chaired the inquiry, Rubinstein found it hard to find a proper description. He noted for example that when it was brought to Goldstone's knowledge that the IDF had taken the unprecedented step of making 100,000 telephone calls warning Palestinians to leave certain areas before attacks, Goldstone ruled that this was inadmissible under international law. And why was that? Because the Israeli calls were not live but recorded! Rubinstein added: 'The man is either a scoundrel, crazy or both and should be hospitalized'. However, Rubinstein advised that the Israeli legal system has an international reputation for impartiality and an Israeli inquiry into all cases involving Palestinian civilian deaths appears to be the only way to resolve the situation. IsraCast recommendation: Geneva Conventions are not applicable to warfare against terrorists using such tactics as fighting behind civilians and Israel should try and initiate new code of international law to cope with guerrilla warfare.

By Comparison:

Estimated Palestinian deaths in IDF's 'Cast Lead' Operation - 1500 - mostly adult males (guerrillas) and 200 children

Estimated civilian deaths in ongoing Iraq War - Johns Hopkins University - 655,000. No Human Rights Council inquiry.

Estimated civilian deaths in ongoing Afghanistan War - 2,000 last year alone - so many civilians were killed in NATO air-strikes this year that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has protested to US. No Human Rights Council inquiry.

Estimated deaths in Russia's War in Chechnya - figures are unavailable, Russian journalists who tried to uncover the numbers have been assassinated, apparently by Russian secret service. No Human Rights Council inquiy.

Estimated Tibetan deaths in China's ongoing conquest of Tibet- 1,200,000. No Human Rights Council investigation.

David Essing

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