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Goldstone Commission Members Affirm Study Findings

Goldstone reportIt discussed his shameless retraction of irrefutable evidence he and other commission members found - namely, that Israel willfully committed crimes of war and against humanity by attacking Gaza civilians and non-military targets in clear violation of international law. Moreover, it was done disproportionately to cause mass deaths, injuries and destruction.

Shockingly, however, Goldstone accepted Israel's internal investigation findings, knowing facts were suppressed and distorted to justify policies. For whatever reasons, he capitulated, selling his soul at the expense of his honor, character, dignity, and high-mindedness, erased in his April 1 Washington Post op-ed too late to retract.

Responding on April 14 in the London Guardian, Commission members Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and  Desmond Travers headlined, "Goldstone report: Statement issued by members of UN mission on Gaza war," saying without mentioning Goldstone by name:

Recent articles and comments on the Commission's work "have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimize the findings of (its) report and to cast doubts on its credibility."

The four-member Commission's report "is now an official UN document and all actions taken pursuant to its findings and recommendations fall solely within the purview of the United Nations general assembly which, along with the human rights council, reviewed and endorsed it at the end of 2009."

"Aspersions cast on the findings (however) cannot be left unchallenged." Jilani, Chinkin and Travers dispute efforts to claim "any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate."

As a result, no reevaluation will be reconsidered, nor is there any UN procedure or precedent to do so. The Commission's conclusions were "made after diligent, independent and objective consideration of the information," carefully obtained. The Commission endorses "its reliability and credibility. We firmly stand by these conclusions."

Further, over 18 months after publication, no contrary facts have been determined. We "have yet to establish a convincing basis for any claims that contradict the findings of the mission's report."

In addition, the UN Human Rights Council "appointed a committee of independent experts to monitor the independence, effectiveness and genuineness of any domestic proceedings carried out to investigate crimes and violations of international law" discovered.

Observers claiming that follow-up committee members Judge Mary McGowan Davis and Judge Lennart Aspergren contradicted the Commission's conclusions "are completely misplaced, and a clear distortion of their findings."

Moreover, the committee said there was "no indication that Israel has opened (legitimate, independent) investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead."

In other words, "one of the most serious allegations about the conduct of Israel's military operations remains completely unaddressed."

The Commission dismisses "calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts (to misrepresent) its nature and purpose, (saying they) disregard the right of victims....to truth and justice. They also ignore the responsibility of the relevant parties under international law to conduct prompt, thorough, effective and independent investigations."

Commission members resent pressure exerted to undermine their credibility and integrity. To give in "would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade."

The process the report initiated will continue "until justice is done and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law by everyone is ensured."

Hila Jilani is a Pakistani human rights lawyer. Christine Chinkin is London School of Economics Professor of International Law, and Desmond Travers is a former Irish peacekeeper, knowledgeable about international law.


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