18/09/2009

Essential Justice

The report of the Committee of the United Nations chaired by Richard Goldstone on the events that occurred in Gaza last December and January was released on Wednesday. Although it accuses Israel and Hamas of « war crimes, and eventually crimes against humanity”, it is especially compromising for the Jewish state.

The Israeli government immediately responded by discrediting the inquiry and its results, accusing it of bias. Israeli policymakers have nevertheless quickly understood the negative impact that this report could have on the country’s diplomatic position, but also on the strength of his army. Learning of some practices applied in Gaza, for example, some Israelis felt betrayed by the army.

To stem this wave of protest and persuade Western governments, members of the Security Council especially, not to give effect to the conclusions of the Goldstone report, Israeli officials chose the argument of the effectiveness of anti – terrorist. According to them, to judge possible crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza would undermine future Israeli enterprises against terrorism. Will Netanyahu succeed in convincing the White House with his Bush-fashioned speech ? The U.S. administration has already expressed « concerns about certain recommendations of the report » but has not yet issued a formal statement.

This time, Israel seems to measure the potential consequences of its actions. The Goldstone report is probably the most successful initiative to use international justice against violations of humanitarian law committed by Israel. The young Russell Tribunal for Palestine, launched in March 2009 on the model of the Russell Tribunal on the Vietman established in 1966, for example, has no legal standing but is intended to « examine violations of international law suffered by the people Palestinian who deprive a sovereign state.  » In France, proceedings were instituted by the association France-Palestine Solidarité against two French companies, Veolia and Alstom, for their involvement in the project of a new tramway passing through occupied East Jerusalem.

As highlighted by R. Goldstone himself, « there can be no peace process if people do not look at the truth. » But in the Middle East, the principle of « no peace without justice » is too often ignored in favor of another principle: the one of double standard.

N.J.O.