Israel had a bad day at the Security Council in NY yesterday as the monthly meeting took up the discussion of the Goldstone Report. Alone, except perhaps for the US, Israel used every complaint, suggestion, and mis-statment it could to stop the proceedings. Among them are the following:
"We have a right to Self-defense." Certainly they do, and the missiles coming from various places in Gaza should be stopped--but not at the expense of over 10,000 homes and over 1,000 killed and more wounded for a bunch of missiles whose most critical hit was a fountain in a southern Israeli town. Israel, it seems believes it has the right to defend itself, but the Palesti nians are simply supposed to roll over and take what they get. Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev made this comment, in which she also called the madate of the Commission "Too Broad."
"This discussion belongs in the Human Rights Council, not the Security Council." That also is probably true-- EXCEPT for the simple fact that war crimes charges and referral to the World Criminal Court can be made by the Human Rights Council WHEN the parties are signatories to the treaty creating the court. Otherwise, the only body with referral authority is the UN Security Council. Israel has thus far, as has the US, refused to sign the treaty. This particular argument was presented by Deputy US Ambassador Alejandro Wolff.
Then two others, "The Report is one-sided", and "The Report blames Israel more than the Palestinians" are really interesting. First the Report blames BOTH Israel and the Palestinians for War Crimes activity, and recommends that both conduct REAL investigations of their own actions. The second argument is even more specious. Some Israeli commentators complain that more pages of the report are devoted to Israel than Hamas. This is certainly true, since the sheer volume of alleged crimes, witness statements to support them, and descriptions of the results of the utter destruction of Gaza has to be more comprehensive than the description of the fountain destroyed in Israel.
The final argument "The adoption of this report would encourage terror" is the most interesting of all. The levels of terror surrounding the Gaza invasion and massacres is itself terror against a mostly innocent population who could not escape since Israel had closed all exit points when they invaded. This does not absolve the Hamas destruction, or even the previous bombings by them that seems to have started the invasion. What matters is the sheer magnitude of response that becomes terror in itself.
We all know there are no simple answers here, but the Israeli position is to let it go away because, after all,, Israel is the good guys and the palestinians are the bad guys here. Believe it if you will.