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US Congress resolution versus UN fact-finding report (Oct 29, 2009)
Full text of the resolution and Reply of R. Goldstone
Published 31 October 2009
1) the US congressional non-binding resolution condemning the findings of U.N. investigator Richard Goldstone’s report;
2) the reply of R. Goldstone where clause by clause he exposes the flaws in the House resolution.
H. RES. 867
Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the "Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict" in
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 23, 2009
Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN (for herself, Mr. BERMAN, Mr. BURTON of Indiana, and
Calling on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose
Whereas, on January 12, 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council
Whereas the resolution pre-judged the outcome of its investigation, by
Whereas the `fact-finding mission’ included a member who, before
Whereas the mission’s flawed and biased mandate gave serious concern
Whereas the mission’s flawed and biased mandate troubled many
Whereas, on September 15, 2009, the `United Nations Fact Finding
Whereas the report repeatedly made sweeping and unsubstantiated
Whereas the authors of the report, in the body of the report itself,
Whereas in the October 16th edition of the Jewish Daily Forward,
Whereas the report, in effect, denied the State of Israel the right to
Whereas the report largely ignored the culpability of the Government
Whereas the report usually considered public statements made by
Whereas, notwithstanding a great body of evidence that Hamas and other
Whereas in one notable instance, the report stated that it did not
Whereas Hamas was able to significantly shape the findings of the
Whereas even though Israel is a vibrant democracy with a vigorous and
Whereas the report recommended that the United Nations Human Rights
Whereas the report recommended that the United Nations Security Council-
(1) require the Government of Israel to launch further investigations
(2) simultaneously appoint an `independent committee of experts’ to
(3) refer the case to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal
Whereas the report recommended that the United Nations General
Whereas the report ignored the issue of compensation to Israelis who
Whereas the report recommended `that States Parties to the Geneva
Whereas the State of Israel, like many other free democracies, has an
Whereas Libya and others have indicated that they intend to further
Whereas the President instructed the United States Mission to the
Whereas, on September 30, 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
Whereas, on September 17, 2009, Ambassador Susan Rice, United States
Whereas the `Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the
Whereas the `Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the
Whereas, on October 16, 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Council
Whereas efforts to delegitimize the democratic State of Israel and
Resolved, That the House of Representatives-
(1) considers the `Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission
(2) supports the Administration’s efforts to combat anti-Israel bias
(3) calls on the President and the Secretary of State to continue to
(4) calls on the President and the Secretary of State to strongly and
(5) reaffirms its support for the democratic, Jewish State of Israel,
2) Letter of R. Goldstone
FROM: RICHARD GOLDSTONE
Here are some comments on this resolution in an effort to correct factual errors:
1. Paragraph 3:
That is why I and others refused the original mandate - it only called for an investigation into violations committed by Israel. The mandate given to and accepted by me and under which we worked and reported reads as follows:
“. . .to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 20089, whether before, during or after”.
That mandate clearly included rocket and mortar attacks on Israel and as the report makes clear was so interpreted and implemented. It was the report with that mandate that was adopted by the Human Rights Council and that included the serious findings made against Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups.
2. Paragraph 4:
This is factually incorrect. Chapter XXIV of the Report considers in detail the relentless rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel and the terror it caused to the people living within their range. The finding is made that they constituted serious war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
3. Paragraph 5:
The member concerned, Professor Christine Chinkin of the London School of Economics, in the same letter, together with other leading international lawyers, also condemned as war crimes the Hamas rockets fired into Israel.
4. Paragraph 6:
The mandate that was given to the Mission was certainly not opposed by all or even a majority of the States to which reference is made. That is factually incorrect. I am happy to provide further details if necessary.
5. Paragraph 7:
This too is factually incorrect. The mandate that had been rejected was the one I rejected. Mary Robinson, for example, has written in support of the mandate given to and accepted by me.
6. Paragraph 9:
The words quoted relate to the decision we made that it would have been unfair to investigate and make finding on situations where decisions had been made by Israeli soldiers “in the fog of battle”. This was a decision made in favor and not against the interests of Israel.
7. Paragraph 11:
What I had explained to The Forward was that the Report itself would not constitute evidence admissible in court of law and that investigators would have to investigate which allegations they considered relevant. That, too, was why we recommended domestic investigations into the allegations. The remark as quoted is both inaccurate and taken completely out of context.
8. Paragraph 12:
It is again factually incorrect to state that the Report denied Israel the right of self-defense. The report examined how that right was implemented by the standards of international law. What is commonly called ius ad bellum, the right to use military force was not considered to fall within our mandate. Israel’s right to use military force was not questioned.
9. Paragraph 13:
This is the first suggestion that I have come across to the effect that we should have investigated the provenance of the rockets. It was simply not on the agenda, and in any event, we would not have had the facilities or capability of investigating these allegations. If the Government of Israel has requested us to investigate that issue I have no doubt that we have done our best to do so.
10. Paragraph 14:
This is a sweeping and unfair characterization of the Report. I hope that the Report will be read by those tasked with considering the resolution.
Again, this is an unfair and selective quotation taken our of context.
12. Paragraph 17:
That Hamas was able to shape the findings or that it pre-screened the witnesses is devoid of truth and I challenge anyone to produce evidence in support of it.
Finally, I note that there is not a word to record that notwithstanding repeated pleas to the Government of Israel, it refused all cooperation with the Mission. Amongst others, I requested the views of Israel with regard to the implementation of the mandate and details of any issues that the Government of Israel might wish us to investigate.
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