Commentary and Newsletters

Anne Bayefsky

The Goldstone Inquiry: The UN Blood Libel

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The mandate of the UN Human Rights Council's Goldstone Inquiry is this: Israel is the villain and Palestinians and their Hamas government are the victim. The Inquiry, due to report to the UN Human Rights Council on 20 September 2009 in Geneva, is a product of a Council resolution that states:

    "Human Rights Council... Decides to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission".
This mandate is from Resolution S-9/1, whose title alone tells the story: "The Grave Violations of Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the occupied Gaza Strip". It was adopted on 12 January 2009 at the Human Rights Council 9th Special Session. Only Canada voted against this one-sided resolution intended to create yet another layer of UN demonization and discrimination against the state of Israel. The European Union abstained.

Despite Goldstone's claims that he has changed this mandate by informal conversations with unknown UN actors, the Human Rights Council set the mandate of his inquiry by resolution and has never changed it. Goldstone, a lawyer and former judge, knows full well that he has no jurisdiction or authority to change the mandate either alone or in informal conversation with anyone. His claims to the contrary, therefore, are a serious ethical and legal breach both to the critics who have accused him of assuming a position tainted from the outset, and to the Council itself.

His report will shortly be published. At EYEontheUN we have prepared a resource page for those interested in the background to the report, the biased judges participating in the Goldstone Inquiry - who had decided the case before it was heard - and the real facts that will bear no resemblance to the Goldstone outcome.