Susan Rice may want to discount the Goldstone report because she believes "the focus should be the future," but unfortunately many of issues that Justice Goldstone highlighted as "a crisis of human dignity" continue today.
The Guardian is reporting on a leaked UN report which says the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza is leading to "a gradual process of de-development across all sectors, devastating livelihoods, increasing unemployment and resulting in increased aid dependency amongst the population." Here are some of the statistics from the report:
The UN report, obtained by the Guardian, reveals the delays facing the delivery of even the most basic aid. On average, it takes 85 days to get shelter kits into Gaza, 68 days to deliver health and paediatric hygiene kits, and 39 days for household items such as bedding and kitchen utensils.
Among the many items delayed are notebooks and textbooks for children returning to school. As many as 120 truckloads of stationery were "stranded" in the West Bank and Israel due to "ongoing delays in approval".
There were "continued difficulties" in importing English textbooks for grades four to nine – affecting 130,000 children – and material used to print textbooks for several subjects in grades one to nine.
Government schools were reported to lack paper and chalk, while the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees and runs many schools in Gaza, was still waiting to import 4,000 desks and 5,000 chairs.
The UN says the current situation "contravenes" a UN security council resolution passed during the war in January, which called for "unimpeded provision and distribution" of humanitarian aid for Gaza.
Additionally the Guardian reports, "According to UN statistics, around 70% of Gazans live on less than a dollar a day, 75% rely on food aid and 60% have no daily access to water. As many as 20,000 Palestinians are still displaced after the war, most living with relatives or renting apartments."
The Goldstone report took a look at the conditions that led to the fighting in Gaza last winter and specifically the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza. The report finds that the blockade is in violation of the Fourth Geneva convention; is in violation of international law; constitutes a form of collective punishment and could be found to be a crime against humanity. From the report (pps. 369-370):
The cumulative effect of the blockade policies, with the consequent hardship and deprivation among the whole population, and of the military operations coupled with statements by Israel made to the effect that the whole of the Gaza Strip was a “hostile territory” strongly suggest that there was an intent to subject the Gaza population to conditions such that they would be induced into withdrawing their support from Hamas. . . The facts ascertained by the Mission, the conditions resulting from the deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Israeli Government – as they were presented by its authorized representatives – with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation, cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip.
Clearly many of these same conditions remain today. Even if the Obama administration is not interested in holding Israel accountable for the past, it would seem to be in their self interest to stop this inhumane and illegal ongoing policy if they really intend to restart meaningful negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. They should view the Goldstone report as a gift to pressure Israel to end the occupation and push negotiations forward, not an unfortunate reminder of the past to be forgotten.