Archive for UN Goldstone report

Nightmares continue to plague Gaza children

Posted in Everyday life in Gaza, Gaza, Hamas, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Pictures, Siege with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 03/02/2010 by 3071km

Date published: 3 February 2010

Source: The Electronic Intifada

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Mona al-Samouni shows a photo of her parents who she witnessed being killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza in January 2009. (Suhair Karam/IRIN)

OCCUPIED GAZA STRIP (IRIN) – Mona al-Samouni, 12, is depressed and has nightmares about the day — just more than a year ago — when she witnessed her parents and a number of relatives being shot by Israeli soldiers in their home in Zeitoun, southeast of Gaza City.

Like a number of other children who witnessed horrific events during last year’s 23-day Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip, Mona has become increasingly withdrawn and silent — common ways of coping with tragedies, doctors say.

Statistics about Palestinians who lost their life during the military operation vary, but nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) place the overall number of persons killed between 1,387 and 1,417. The Gaza authorities report 1,444 fatal casualties, while Israel provides a figure of 1,166, according to the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, also known as the Goldstone report.

The killing of Mona’s family is one of the most notorious incidents of last year’s conflict in Gaza and was one of 11 incidents investigated by the UN mission “in which Israeli forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome” and in which “the facts indicate no justifiable military objective pursued by the attack.” It said Israeli forces “killed 23 members of the extended al-Samouni family” on that day.

“There is a significant deterioration in the psychological well-being of Palestinian children who are living in the Gaza Strip, especially after the recent war,” Ayesh Samour, director of the Psychiatric Hospital in Gaza, told IRIN.

According to a study by NGO Ard al-Insan in Gaza, 73 percent of Gaza children are still suffering from psychological and behavioral disorders, including psychological trauma, nightmares, involuntary urination, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Samour said children in Gaza were being denied a normal childhood because of the insecurity and instability in their environment. He said a culture of violence and death had pervaded their mentalities, making them angrier and more aggressive.

A dearth of health professionals in the Strip and a lack of access to medical equipment meant children were not getting the help they needed, Samour said.

Basem Naim, the Hamas minister of health in Gaza, said hospitals and primary care facilities damaged during the Gaza conflict have not been rebuilt due to the blockade of the territory under which Israel bans the entry of construction materials, saying they could be used for military purposes.

“Health professionals in Gaza have been cut off from the outside world,” Naim said.

Hussain Ashour, director of al-Shifa Hospital, the main hospital in Gaza City, said they lacked medical equipment and pediatricians.

Project

Save the Children Sweden and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on 25 January launched the Family Centers Project in Gaza.

“The project will ensure that the right to survival and development of children at risk … is ensured through the establishment of 20 Family Centers in different communities of the Gaza Strip,” Patricia Hoyos, director of Save the Children in Gaza, told IRIN.

“Its main role is to serve a wide population and to provide quality child protection, educational, health and psychosocial services to all those in need of support,” she said.

This item comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. All IRIN material may be reposted or reprinted free-of-charge; refer to the copyright page for conditions of use. IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Reaction out of Gaza to yet another resolution

Posted in Fatah, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, International community, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , on 17/10/2009 by 3071km

Written by Ayman Mohyeldin

Date published: 16th October 2009

Source: The Middle East Blog

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The Goldstone vote at the UN Human Rights Council is being described as a victory for the Palestinian people. But for Palestinians, UN resolutions – at any level – have become a bittersweet experience that represent the duality of both international impotence and bias.

It’s being described as a victory for the Palestinian people and the political factions in Gaza were quick to embrace the Goldstone vote at the UN Human Rights Council.

The deposed government and Hamas both welcomed the outcome and immediately called for the international community to begin taking up the recommendations of the report by bringing charges against alleged Israeli war criminals responsible for the war on Gaza.

Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk said the Islamic movement would set up a committee to look into any “indications” of wrong doing in the Goldstone report against Hamas.

Reacting to the report and what possible implications it means for Hamas, Dr. Mahmoud Zahar rejected the notion that Hamas had committed any war crimes during the war. He also said Hamas would help in collecting and presenting evidence that could help lead to criminal cases against Israeli officials.

Litigation

Many here want to see prominent international jurists, international organizations and human rights group pursue cases against Israeli political and military leaders on behalf of Palestinian victims. In recent years, European courts have allowed for Palestinian victims represented by European lawyers and organizations to introduce cases in individual countries against Israeli officials, so far without much success. But Israeli officials are increasingly worried about traveling to European countries that have pending cases working their way through the legal system out of fear of being arrested.

That may be wishful for thinking for some on the streets of Gaza, who for the time being don’t draw a direct correlation between Friday’s vote in Geneva and the likely execution of justice for the victims and their families.

For Palestinians, UN resolutions – at any level – have become a bittersweet experience that represent the duality of both international impotence and bias. When the international community endorses a resolution that favors Palestinians, it usually lacks any traction and suffers from the looming threat of a US veto, which is always dangling overhead, meaning it is unlikely to pass. US-backed resolutions are seen as either watered-down or pro-Israeli.

When the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas caved in to international pressure and supported the deferral of the vote on the Goldstone report at the previous UNHCR session, he came under intense domestic criticism.

Hamas launched scathing attacks calling him a “traitor” and said he was no longer fit to represent the Palestinian people. Many in Gaza shared those sentiments. Palestinian factions, civil society and organizations condemned the decision. Palestinians were outraged that their leader would take an action widely seen as directly contravening the interests of his own people.

But there is a silver lining in all of this – in some ways, this was a victory for the Palestinian people. A spokesperson for the PFLP-GC (one of the dozens of Palestinian factions) summed up the vote by calling it a victory and an example of collective Palestinian action and unity.

Indeed thats what many will now uphold as the Goldstone example. When Palestinian leaders, under pressure and facing public accountability from civil society and ordinary people act in the interest of their people, results can be achieved.

Now, if Hamas and Fatah can just sign a national reconciliation pact and agree on national political unity, what a week it would be for the Palestinians!

Russell Tribunal on Palestine: NEWS UPDATE (13/10/09)

Posted in Activism, Gaza war crimes investigation, International community, Israel, Non-violent resistance, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , , on 13/10/2009 by 3071km

E-mail received: Tuesday 13th October 2009

Source: Russell Tribunal on Palestine/Tribunal Russell sur la Palestine

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The Goldstone report fiasco of the last few weeks has reinforced our opinion that only a Peoples/citizen led tribunal will enable public opinion to expose Israel’s crimes and international community complicity.

Richard Falk once said, during a speech in Rome on 22 May 2009 :”It would appear that only civil society has the combination of will and capability to respond affirmatively to the challenge of accountability […] it would be constructive to mount the sort of effort pioneered by the Basso Foundation, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal and the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, in relation to the Gaza events. If well-organized, such an initiative would provide a comprehensive and reliable documentation of allegations relating to war crimes, and would at least offer a symbolic set of responses to the challenge of accountability.”

Two very important events have therefore being put together by the Russell Tribunal on Palestine:

On 16 December a preparatory seminary will take place in Brussels (full programme will follow shortly). This seminary’s goal is to show public opinion that even if Israel has been found guilty of breaches of international law many times in the past, inaction from the EU, UN and other third parties has allowed Israel to continue to act in total impunity. By exposing this, we will emphasise on the need for a public opinion tribunal such as the Russell Tribunal in Palestine to take place, building momentum for the Barcelona session of March 2010.

We have invited people that have worked on the Goldstone report (Christine Chinkin), the Arab League “Dugard” report (Paul de Waart) and the 2004 ICJ advisory opinion (Francois Dubuisson). Also present will be French ambassador Stephane Hessel, Pierre Galand, Leila Shahid, Marcel Francis Khan and former Dutch prime minister Dries Van Agt. Representatives from National Support Committees will also take part explaining to the audience the work that has already been done in various countries.

Then, on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of March the first international session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine will take place in Barcelona. We are at the moment working on the agenda of the session and the jury. We have so far found 3 members:

-Judge Juan Tapia Guzman from Chile
-QC Michael Mansfield from England
-Gisele Halimi from France

We are also honoured to now be able to count film director Costa Gavras has one of our patrons (see full list here: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/pages/The_Support_Commitee-1143887.html

The most important people in this tribunal are yourselves. We cannot do much without your support and help. If you feel that you are able to financially support our initiative, please make an online donation here: http://www.russelltribunalonpalestine.net/pages/Support_the_Russell_Tribunal_on_Palestine-1152211.html

It is also primordial that you spread the word. Post links on your websites, blogs, twitter, facebook and mention the Russell Tribunal on Palestine to friends and colleagues.

We need professional media people in Brussels and Barcelona (principally cameramen with gear and Production assistants) that will be able to film seminary and session. We will cover for expenses but cannot pay at the moment. If you’re able to help in this field, send us an email, please.

Media coverage is very important. If you work for a TV (BBC, Al Jazeera, Press TV…) or internet broadcaster (GRITtv, Deep Dish TV, Democracy Now…) please contact us as well.

Many thanks for your support,

In solidarity
Frank Barat
Coordinator
Russell Tribunal on Palestine

UN delay on Gaza report condemned

Posted in Activism, Fatah, Gaza, Gaza war crimes investigation, Hamas, History, International community, Israel, Operation Cast Lead, Palestine, Peace process, Pictures, Siege, USA foreign policy, War crimes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 04/10/2009 by 3071km

Date published: Sunday 4th October 2009

Source: Al Jazeera English

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Dahlan called for a probe by the PLO into  the
decision to delay the vote [GALLO/GETTY]

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip have condemned the decision by the UN to defer voting on the Goldstone report, that highlighted war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the formers’ offensive on the territory in December.

The factions, including Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad, met in Gaza City on Sunday and will form a joint committee to investigate why the vote was delayed.

Bassem Khuri, the Palestinian economy minister, resigned on Saturday, reportedly in protest at the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) agreement not to discuss the document.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) postponed a vote to endorse the report until March after Pakistan made a request to do so on the behest of several Arab, African and Muslim nations.

The 575-page report by Richard Goldstone, a South African ex-judge appointed by the UN, blames both the Israelis and Hamas for war crimes, but is more critical of Israeli troops for “targeting and terrorising civilians”.

‘US pressure’

Media reports said that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) delegation to the UNHRC had attempted to prevent discussion of the report under US pressure.

There are no members of Hamas – the de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip – on the delegation.

Earlier on Sunday, Mohammed Dahlan, a member of Fatah’s central council, asked the PLO Executive Committee for an official probe into the reasons for the delay in the vote.

“We call on the Palestine Liberation Organisation to form an investigation committee into the causes of asking for a postponement to reach the truth about the situation and it is important to listen to Ambassador Khreisheh [the Palestinian representative at the UN in Geneva] because this is not related to the ambassador but rather to policies,” Dahlan said.

He welcomed the report and praised its content and the integrity of the author.

He said that the Goldstone report is a “substantial national issue that relatively vindicated the Palestinian people and condemned the [Israeli] occupation and its policies”.

‘Defeatist’

Other PLO factions, parliamentary groups and human rights organisations have been criticising the vote delay.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called the step “defeatist” while the secretary general of the People’s Party called for an official investigation.

A joint statement by 14 human rights organisations, called “Justice Postponed is Justice Denied”, was also released, harshly criticising the Palestinian leadership’s conduct on the issue.

The Goldstone report, released last month, investigated the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip last December and January.

About 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks, while 13 Israelis died due to incidents related to the war.

Many analysts have said that Washington sees the findings of the report as complicating the advancement of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.