Posted in Gaza, Hamas, human rights, Media, tagged al-haq, B'Tselem, Gaza, Gisha, Goldstone, Hamas, international law, Israel, Justice, New York Times, Occupation, Operation Cast Lead, PCHR, rule of law on April 1, 2011 |
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It is not easy being the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza. It is impossible for them to issue any statement that doesn’t become instantly politicized. And, like many NGOs, their reports are often put in less than ideal contexts by the media.
Much like their counterparts — such as al-Haq in the West Bank and groups like B’Tselem and Gisha in Israel — their attempt to report on human rights and, to act as a watchdog on their own government while operating in an atmosphere where the Israeli occupation causes overarching human rights violations creates a difficult balancing act.
Logo of the Palestine Center for Human Rights, located in the Gaza Strip
But PCHR still is the best NGO source for the state of human rights in Gaza. True, it has little competition (though there is some, including B’Tselem’s fieldworkers in Gaza), but its reports have generally proven reliable—so much so, that their releases are often used by the Israeli right.
Today, the New York Times reported on a recent PCHR release, which criticized “members of the Palestinian resistance” for “stor[ing] explosives or to treat such explosives in locations close to populated areas.”
It is important to note that PCHR did not identify the “members of the resistance.” The Times, while scrupulously avoiding any statement that the PCHR statement is referring to Hamas, does say that “Israel has long accused Hamas and other groups of endangering Palestinian civilians by carrying out militant activities in densely populated areas.”
A PCHR spokesman also noted that the Hamas government tried to shift blame for injuries to Gazan civilians that were clearly caused by Palestinian rockets onto Israel.
An unwitting reader of the Times article might infer that PCHR was implicitly accusing Hamas of being responsible for the weapons storage. The distinction there is an important one.
Storing weapons in civilian areas, or dangerously near civilians, carries two threats, both of which the people of Gaza have become intimately familiar with. One is that the weapons will accidentally discharge or misfire when used. The second is that Israel will target the area. (more…)
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Posted in B'Tselem, Flotilla, Gaza, Hamas, human rights, IDF, tagged B'Tselem, democracy, Flotilla, Gaza, Hamas, human rights, international law, Israel, Justice, rule of law, Turkel on January 23, 2011 |
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Today, Israel’s Turkel Commission came out with its first report on its inquiry into the Gaza flotilla debacle. Their report stated that the IDF acted properly and legally. Roi Maor, over at 972mag.com, efficiently breaks down just how much of a sham the report is.
It would feel much better for me to report that Israel was capable of investigating itself; it has done so in the past, perhaps not to everyone’s satisfaction, but in a manner that I think put it, back then, ahead of most, maybe any other country in the world.
But a quarter century later, this is a very different Israel. And this particular outcome was predictable, not because of cynicism about Israel’s ability in this regard, but by the behavior of the commission itself. This is demonstrated in this piece, which I wrote back in October.
It really doesn’t make sense anymore to demand that Israel investigate itself. It rarely does so, and this sort of thing is the result when it does.
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Posted in Gaza, Hamas, human rights, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, United Nations, tagged Gaza, Goldstone, Hamas, human rights, international law, Israel, Palestine, Palestinians, United Nations on April 7, 2009 |
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It’s always nice to see when a group of diplomats does something right. In the case of the UN Human Rights Council, the announcement last week of a fact-finding mission headed by Richard Goldstone is not only smart and appropriate; it offers some correction for a past error.
During the Gaza fighting, the UNHRC set out a foolish mandate, where it called for an international, impartial investigation-but only into Israeli actions during the Gaza offensive. Not only is this inherently unjust and an unacceptable application of international law, it is also impractical. An independent investigation depends on the cooperation of the country in question.
As it stood, the mandate was going to be little more than hot air and another point against the UNHRC, which, like its predecessor (the UN Commission on Human Rights), has merited the criticism of paying more attention to Israeli crimes than to those of other countries. But the appointment of Goldstone to head a four-person team to investigate Gaza changes this.
The UNHRC president, Martin Uhomoibhi of Nigeria, stated explicitly that the investigation would cover the actions of both sides. More to the point, Goldstone wouldn’t be doing it if the purpose of the mission was only to “nail” Israel.
Goldstone has a rock solid reputation as a fair prosecutor of justice and his experience covers many of the most high-profile issues in recent times: South Africa, Yugoslavia, Rwanda and the Iraq Oil-for-Food program. He has also been involved in monitoring Nazi activity in Argentina.
Goldstone has always presented himself as a Jew in more than just ancestry. He has also always had strong ties with and an abiding concern for Israel. He is a trustee of the Hebrew University and this should not be underestimated. A professor might hold all sorts of views, but a trustee, especially one who is a foreign citizen, is not getting that position at Hebrew U if he is anti-Israel. (more…)
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