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From Goldstone to Schabas... where is the justice for the Palestinians?

The UN Human Rights Council's appointment of the Canadian William Schabas to investigate the violations of human rights laws committed by the Israeli occupation during the war on Gaza was preceded, on April 3, 2009, after Operation Cast Lead, by a report by international investigator Richard Goldstone, amounting to over 10,000 pages, more than 30 video tapes, and 1,200 photographs. He concluded that Israel violated Chapter 13 of the International Humanitarian Law, as it destroyed industrial infrastructure, food production units, water installations, schools and factories, as well as targeted civilian homes and using white phosphorus in the bombing of civilians. The occupation forces also violated the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Goldstone Report formed the beginning of the international justice the Palestinians had always needed, and it was a great shock to them when the Palestinian Authority decided to yield completely to American and Western pressure by submitting a request to the UN Human Rights Council to defer the vote on the recommendations of the report presented by the fact-finding committee headed by Goldstone.

The Israeli occupation authorities are trying to pre-empt the William Schabas committee formed to investigate the "circumstances" and the "aspects" of the Israeli aggression on Gaza in order to abort all attempts at international investigation. In order to guarantee that a William Schabas Report similar to the Goldstone report is not presented, Israel named Joseph Shapira as the State Comptroller in Israel to begin an investigation with both the political and military Israeli officials into the Shujaya and Rafah massacres, thus avoiding and pre-empting the William Schabas report.

On the other hand, we are witnessing real political confusion within the Palestinian Authority, which has continued from the Goldstone Report and carried on to the Schabas Report, while waves of anger are emerging in most of the world's capitals regarding the occupation's policy against the Palestinian people. There have also been growing calls for an economic and political boycott of Israel, and this is being responded to by the Arab world and the Palestinians with a sense of indifference and has been reduced to a statement presented on the news ticker during each round of aggression and confrontation.

We are clearly witnessing the failed tactic used to deal with the Israeli aggression, which continues to affect even the smallest aspects of the Palestinians' daily life. In addition to this, we are witnessing a lack of a clear strategy, meaning a policy based on continual dependence on others is being employed and there is a lack of factors of strength needed to engage in the various confrontations with the occupation, making them miserable policies in terms of form and content. Since the Madrid Conference and until today, we have not learned the lessons of employing such policies as well as from the continuous bartering process that leaves nothing of the Palestinians' rights.

The policy of uncertainty and confusion bears, in its implications, disastrous results as well as weakness and dependency on the unknown. We base this conclusion on the experience with the Goldstone Report and the disregard of adopting a comprehensive political review of the tactic used by the Palestinian negotiator in his dealings with the occupation, not to mention the shock that hit the Palestinian people when the PA decided not to activate the Goldstone Report.

The Palestinians were also shocked, during the latest round of the aggression on Gaza that the official Arab support shifted from the Palestinians to the Israelis. Therefore, how can we rely on, or hope for, the awaited justice, either from the Goldstone or Schabas Report, as long as there is a flagrant abandonment of responsibility of the Palestinian cause by some of the official Arab governments?

The minimum requirement is a careful reading of the Israeli scene. During the aggression and before it, as well as throughout the pointless negotiations, the Israelis are united over the blood of the Palestinians and they are heading towards the right-wing fascist approaches to all of the "agreements" made. Therefore, today, we are waiting for justice even larger than the justice from the Goldstone or Schabas Reports; we are waiting for the justice of the brave Palestinian leadership, who must give up their crippling pride, equate themselves with the struggles of their people, and pay attention to the beds of strength across Palestine. The fog of transitioning from disagreement to hostility has written off the Palestinian leadership's history and sacrifices. However, the justice awaited by the Palestinians is, without a doubt, their national unity with their legitimate intellectual and political "differences".

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 18 August, 2014


The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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