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Ban Ki-moon on Goldstone Report Progress
Secretary General observes, does not analyze the report
Ronda Hauben (netizen2)     Email Article  Print Article 
Published 2010-02-08 10:44 (KST)   
Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, has issued a 1-1/2 page report to the General Assembly on the progress in the implementation of the Goldstone Report. This is his response to General Assembly resolution 64/10 calling upon Israel and the Palestinians to carry on internal investigations of the violations of international law documented in the Goldstone Report. (1) The substance of the report is contained in 4 paragraphs on pages 2-3. Under the subheading of "Observations", the four paragraphs roughly say:

1) At the beginning of 2009 he "visited both Gaza and South Israel in order to help end the fighting and to show my respect and concern for the deaths and injuries of so many people during the conflict in and around Gaza." He goes on to say he was and remains, "deeply affected by the widespread death, destruction and suffering in the Gaza strip, as well as moved by the plight of civilians in southern Israel..."

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2) He believes, as a matter of principle, international humanitarian law needs to be fully respected and civilians must be protected in all situations and circumstances...." To this end he has "called upon all of the parties to carry out credible domestic investigations" and he hopes "such steps will be taken wherever there are credible allegations of human rights abuses."

3) It is his hope that "GA resolution 64/10 has served to encourage investigations by the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards."

4) He notes that "processes initiated by the Government of Israel and the Government of Switzerland are ongoing", and that the "Palestinian side initiated its process on 25 January 2010." His conclusion from this is "no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned."

The document containing these 4 paragraphs includes 70 pages of appendices. The first Annex, Annex I, starts on page 4. This Annex is material submitted by Israel. The submission from the Palestinian authority, Annex II starts on page 63. Annex III from the Government of Switzerland begins on page 70. The fact that the report is contained in pages 2-3, and the rest of the 72 pages of the document are appendices from the parties involved appeared to even confuse some news agencies, which in their initial reports appear to have mistook the lengthy appendix from Israel as Ban Ki-moon's report. (2) For example, an AP account referred to Israel's response, but mistakenly attributing it to the Secretary General, erroneously reported, "Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in a 72-page report Thursday night to the General Assembly that Israel followed up on every allegation." Ban Ki-moon's four paragraphs of observations made no such claim.

The General Assembly in its request to the Secretary-General asked for a report, "with a view to considering further action, if necessary, by the relevant United Nations organs and bodies, including the Security Council."

The Secretary-General's report, however, does not offer an analysis of the information submitted to his office. Nor does it make any recommendations about what further action should be considered. The original recommendation in the Goldstone Report that the Security Council establish "an independent committee of experts in international humanitarian and human rights law to monitor and report on any domestic legal or other proceedings undertaken by the Government of Israel in relation to the aforesaid investigations" appears to have been ignored by the Secretary-General, the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Similarly, the Secretary-General's report doesn't comment on the original proposal in the Goldstone report that the Security Council set up a similar independent committee of experts to monitor and report of the proceedings undertaken by the Palestinians.

The Secretary-General's report is silent about the lack of action on the part of the Security Council regarding the Goldstone Report. More attention to this problem was needed given the voting record of the permanent members of the Security Council in their votes regarding GA resolution 64/10. Of the five permanent members of the Security Council, only one voted to send the Goldstone Report to the Security Council, while three permanent members abstained and one voted in opposition to sending it to the Security Council.(3)

While it appears that the Secretary-General has failed to do more than literally respond to the request of the General Assembly for a report on the progress of the recommendations made in the Goldstone Report, it seems that Israel is testing the waters to see whether it will have to treat the Goldstone Report seriously.

A Haaretz reporter, referring to advice to Israel from an American official, writes , "The United States has suggested to Israel that easing the Gaza blockade would help counter the fallout from the Goldstone report on alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead a year ago." The reporter explains, however, that, "Sources at the Prime Minister's bureau said yesterday that the plan is first to see how the deliberations at the UN proceed, and to gauge the reactions to the secretary general's report."(4)

Notes:

(1) General Assembly A/64/651 "Follow-Up to the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict: Report of the Secretary-General", 4 February 2010.

(2)UN Chief Praises Israel Probe of Its Gaza Actions By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, February 4, 2010, article in "New York Times"

BBC quoted from AP article.


(3) Ronda Hauben, UN General Assembly Debates Goldstone Report Report on Israeli action in Gaza transmitted to the Security Council,November 25, 2009, OhmyNews International.

Ronda Hauben, Goldstone Report Transmitted to UN Security Council Part II - Goldstone Report Recommendations to Security Council, November 27, 2009 OhmyNews International.

(4) Barak Ravid,
U.S.: Easing Gaza siege would help counter Goldstone
, February 5, 2010, Haaretz.com.
A version of this article appears on my netizenblog.
©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ronda Hauben

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