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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Update on the Goldstone Report!

On Friday (26 February), the United Nations' General Assembly passed, by 98 to 7, a resolution "put forward by Muslim countries that once again urges the two sides to undertake independent investigations into allegations of war crimes raised by the Goldstone Report last year". Ban Ki-Moon, the UN's secretary general, has been asked to report back to the assembly "within a period of five months on the implementation of the present resolution, with a view to the consideration of further action".

According to The National, the previous deadline for independent investigations passed in February with Mr. Ban acknowledging that he could not determine whether each side had fulfilled its obligations.

While many have sharply criticized Mr. Ban's 'inaction' - I can agree that I am disappointed that the deadline was not met, though I will decline to comment about Mr. Ban - some progress is better than no progress at all!

Richard Falk, the UN's special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, said on Thursday that further delay would only lessen the likelihood of any war criminals being held accountable. "The delays remove the reality of what happened in Gaza from the collective memory of world society".

Riyad Mansour, the PLO's representative to the UN, however, rejected this criticism and said that the process was a long one. "The Goldstone report is like a bulldozer and it is moving. Sometimes it is moving fast, sometimes is is moving slow."

According to Geroge Giacaman, a Ramallah-based analyst, the next five months will thus probably prove "crucial", though not necessarily for any outcome of investigations. He said, "Israel will use this time to lobby governments against taking any action on the Goldstone report. This, is much better equipped to do than the Palestinian side. It is nevertheless an open contest because the Palestinian side, in urging that action be taken, will be joined by human rights organizations from across the world."

The Goldstone report is not yet "dead and buried", he said, but the next five months will determine is faith.


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