Goldstone lesson: what’s so great about international law?

What Richard Goldstone published on the Times op-ed page yesterday should not be surprising to either his defenders or detractors.  He has never made a secret of being a progressive Zionist, and if he went a step further than the average J Street operative in his desperation to save Israel as a Jewish state, it’s because he spent much more time around international institutions and was thus all the more alarmed.  There is no reason to believe that the things he is saying now are any different from what he believed when he wrote the report on Cast Lead.

But this also speaks to a larger point – international “law” and institutions are the problem, not the solution.  Israel owes its very existence to a mandate of “international law”, and is the only country to invoke it in its declaration of independence.  If international institutions, and the UN in particular, are eager to admit a “state of Palestine”, it is because they are desperate to implement a two-state solution for the sake of their own credibility. 

Richard Goldstone is first and foremost a dedicated partisan and apparatchik of the international system and its ultimate triumph, and Israel remains the tabernacle of that system because, sharing the same sacred story as the American empire, it is the ultimate symbol of its own goodness.  That this system has to such an extent been turned against Israel (and the United States) is but a natural irony of history. 

Put not your faith in the princes of the UN, but in the power lying in the streets of Palestine, Egypt, Bahrain, and beyond.

Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 13 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Kathleen says:

    “. Israel owes its very existence to a mandate of “international law”, and is the only country to invoke it in its declaration of independence. If international institutions, and the UN in particular, are eager to admit a “state of Palestine”, it is because they are desperate to implement a two-state solution for the sake of their own credibility.”

    And time for a two state solution is fading quickly

    • Hostage says:

      Israel owes its very existence to a mandate of “international law”, and is the only country to invoke it in its declaration of independence.

      I would agree that you must not put your faith in international law alone, but disagree that Israel was established in accordance with the provisions of international law.

      The declassified minutes of the Jewish Peoples Council prove beyond any doubt that the Jewish Leadership where working hastily to make a declaration before the provisions of the UN resolution were invalidated or modified. They admitted that they were operating completely outside the framework of the terms of the resolution itself. So, they carefully reworded their draft declaration accordingly to avoid any mention of a Jewish government, the UN boundaries, & etc. They took on the responsibilities that were reserved for the UN Palestine Commission without any authorization and abandoned the plan for the transition period contained in the resolution of 29 November 1947. link to books.google.com

      By the time Great Britain and Israel held a conference in 1949, the Israelis had repudiated the provisions of the UN resolution on succession to public debts, treaty obligations, & etc. Israeli officials claimed that Israel was established by its own act of secession and was in no sense a successor to the government of Palestine or the provisions contained in Article 28 of the Mandate regarding succession. See D.P. O’Connell author “The Law of State Succession”, Volume V of the Cambridge Studies in International and Comparative Law, 1956, Hersh Lauterpacht editor, pages 10-11, and 178

      It’s a mistake to suggest that the UN Palestine Commission could have, or ever would have, named Va’ad Leumi and the Jewish Agency Executive the provisional government and invested them with the sole executive, legislative, and judicial authority over the 509,000 Arab inhabitants of the proposed State. It was a propaganda ploy when they adopted the title State of Israel and Provisional Government of Israel, since they certainly represented no one in the non-Jewish communities of the Palestine mandate. The fact is that Israel has assiduously avoided compliance with the applicable international laws and UN resolutions on the Palestine Question.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Goldstone: “Blacks critically injured in car accidents were left to bleed to death if there was no “black” ambulance to rush them to a “black” hospital. “White” hospitals were prohibited from saving their lives.”

    His willingness to ignore the similarities is shameful,

    Infringement of the Right to Medical Treatment

    The army’s severe restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank gravely affect the ability of Palestinians to obtain proper medical treatment.

    The hundreds of physical obstructions and dozens of checkpoints result in very limited access to medical treatment, and sometimes none at all. The problem is especially grave among residents of villages and outlying areas who need to get to hospitals in the large cities. For example, persons living in villages around Jerusalem who need to get to hospitals in East Jerusalem for treatment require a permit to enable them to reach their destination. To obtain a permit, patients have to provide medical documents testifying to their illness, as well as confirmation that they have an appointment at the specific hospital and that it is the only facility where the needed treatment is available.

    The need for a permit is especially problematic for pregnant women, who need to get to the hospital in time to give birth. Even though the delivery date is uncertain, the permit given to women about to deliver is valid for only one or two days, as is the case for most sick persons. Therefore, women in their ninth month of pregnancy must go to the DCO every few days to renew the permit. As a result, in some instances, the mother gave birth at the checkpoint after her crossing was delayed because she did not have a valid permit. In 2007, at least five women gave birth at a checkpoint, three of them at a checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem.

    The hardships entailed in obtaining medical treatment involve more than the bureaucracy of the permit regime. In many cases, the way to the hospital is blocked, so the sick and injured have to travel on long, winding, and worn roads. These alternate roads often lead to a staffed checkpoint, where they are forced to wait and undergo checks. In other cases, access to medical treatment is prevented and ill and wounded persons are unable to receive emergency medical treatment when checkpoints are closed at night, and whole Palestinian communities are blocked from entering or leaving by vehicle, including by ambulance. This situation exists primarily in enclaves in the “seam zone” and in a number of isolated areas, among them Beit Furik and Beit Dajan, in the Nablus area. In 2007, there was an increase in the number of persons needing medical treatment who were delayed at checkpoints, and B’Tselem documented five cases in which ill or wounded persons died after being delayed at a checkpoint.

    link to ifamericansknew.org
    Harassment, Humiliation, and Death

    Extensive evidence indicates that whether or not a Palestinian is allowed to pass through a checkpoint is often arbitrary. Journalists and other eyewitnesses report that Palestinians have been denied access because they are smiling, or are deemed ugly, or simply because the soldiers don’t feel like letting them pass.

    Human Rights workers have documented cases where Palestinian men and boys are detained at checkpoints without food, water, or protection from the elements for hours. In some cases, they are held in metal cages or required to strip to their underwear, in many cases, they are blindfolded and their hands are tied with plastic ties that cut deeply into their wrists.

    An ambulance is detained and checked at a checkpoint in Nablus.
    An ambulance is detained and checked at a checkpoint in Nablus. Palestine Monitor

    There is a great deal of documentary evidence showing that ambulances carrying sick or injured Palestinians frequently are prevented from traveling through checkpoints, sometimes leading to deaths. In addition numerous pregnant women have not been allowed to pass through checkpoints – in many cases the mother or baby has died as a result. Between June 2003 and February 2004, 46 women delivered their babies at checkpoints – 24 of the women and 27 newborns died as a result.
    According to the Palestine Monitor, “[m]ore than 991 incidents of denial of access to Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees’ (UPMRC) ambulances have been reported,” and at least 83 deaths have resulted from the prevention of access to medical services.

    • pabelmont says:

      You are right. He ignored a tremendous amount of easily available information. If you want Israeli crimes, they are there to be seen.

      So, again, what was he doing, and why now? I imagine his family, his community, and his Zionism forced him to do what amounts to an ideologically-motivated (his ideology? his community’s?) “suicide bombing” of law, of logic, of truth.

      A sad fall of a great man. In a way, the great man is dead, and there should be kaddish.

  3. Potsherd2 says:

    There are parts of “Jerusalem” where the ambulance dispatcher asks, “Is the victim a Jew or Arab?” If an Arab, the ambulance is denied, but an “Arab ambulance” isn’t allowed into the area.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Prominent individuals who know what apartheid is sure disagree with Goldstone.

    Archbishop Tutu
    link to globalwebpost.com

    Archbishop Tutu Stands For Justice Against Apartheid Israel
    link to veteranstoday.com
    with-marrickville-against-apartheid-israel/

    Nelson Mandela
    link to endtheoccupation.org

    The Elders
    link to theelders.org

  5. I agree with Jack that Goldstone has been consistent in his values and statements, even if it differed from the statements of those that would use his work for their own political objectives.

    I disagree that
    “Richard Goldstone is first and foremost a dedicated partisan”.

    My sense is that he is just a man, a principled, informed, dedicated man.

    Dedicated to family, community, Jewish community, law, international law, alike.

    Not one, not the other.

    • Cliff says:

      He is a Zionist. He was subjected to harassment from the organized, Zionist, Jewish community. His ‘recantations’ came after this campaign of harassment and slander.

      He is a moral human being. A good man. He is also a Zionist and clearly a nationalist. His recent OP-EDs, which are by nature short and short-sighted indicate his nationalism.

      You are latching on to him now because of conclusions he has reached that you also agree with.

      Like the lying, racist, hophmi – you are being opportunistic. You slandered the Goldstone report for so long without even having read it.

      Who are you kidding, Dick?

      • I wasn’t convinced of the conclusions.

        The more that proponents harrangued me for not being convinced, the less convinced I got.

        I believe that the question of admissable scope of war remains an important question, that has not been suitably addressed.

        There are better options (all subject to debate). There are moral wrongs. (all subject to debate). There are war crimes (determined by a court of law).

        The three approaches are not equivalent.

        • Shingo says:

          I wasn’t convinced of the conclusions.

          But you never read the report , so how can you claim to knowing what you are talking about. In fact, you admitted to me that you didn’t read it becasue you were afraid of what you would find.

          In other words, you convinced of the conclusions becasue yuo had already made up your mind.

          The more that proponents harrangued me for not being convinced, the less convinced I got.

          That’s you bering your typical juvenile self. You were being harrangued becasue you were making statements and conclusions based on pure igorance, guess work, and a relentless effort at damage control.

          You’re simply a cheap and dishonest proapgandist, and yet you remain puzzled why no one takes you seriously.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Gee, it’s a good thing the report was written ONLY by Goldstone and there weren’t, oh, three other people who contributed to the report, and all three of them have basically said politely, “Goldstone is full of shit when he contradicts this report.”

    • Charon says:

      “Dedicated to family, community, Jewish community, law, international law, alike.”

      And didn’t like being labeled a self-hater so he changed his tune

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Actually, the problem is Goldstone chose his commitment to the Jewish community over his commitment to law and international law.

        I really don’t think anyone should be shocked about Goldstone, in retrospect. Was he really against apartheid, when he was serving in an apartheid government?