Written by Ayman Mohyeldin
Date published: 16th October 2009
Source: The Middle East Blog
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.
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!