Gaza: Goldstone Report: Fw: REPLY TO YOUR LETTER; pass the sick bag

dicegeorge at hotmail dot com dicegeorge at
Sat Nov 14 00:51:55 GMT 2009

forwarding ananonymously...
re: United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza conflict

From: xxx
Sent: Friday, November 13, 2009 10:14 PM
Subject: Fw: REPLY TO YOUR LETTER; pass the sick bag

> Hi Folks,
> I recently sent a letter to Ed Milliband's office suggesting that Britain 
> should vote in favour of the Goldstone report. The sick-making reply is 
> below. If anyone would like to post it on diggers, without my name 
> atttached feel free.
> --- On Fri, 13/11/09, AINAGCorrespondence at 
> <AINAGCorrespondence at> wrote:
> From: AINAGCorrespondence at <AINAGCorrespondence at>
> To: AINAGCorrespondence at
> Date: Friday, 13 November, 2009, 14:35
> Dear
> Sir/Madam,
> Thank
> you for your correspondence regarding the UN-mandated Fact Finding Mission
> headed by Justice Richard Goldstone.
> We
> apologise that this is not personally addressed. We have received
> large volumes of correspondence on this subject and wish to ensure you
> receive a reply as quickly as possible.
> We
> take the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission on Gaza very seriously. We 
> have been clear from the beginning of
> the conflict that all allegations of abuse should be properly
> investigated.
> We
> have some concerns about the final report.
> While we are pleased that Justice Goldstone made clear that he would
> investigate allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law by 
> all
> sides in the conflict, the report did not adequately recognise Israel’s 
> right to
> protect its citizens and did not pay sufficient attention to Hamas’
> actions. The report also made some
> broad assertions concerning detailed interpretation of international law 
> with
> which we differ. Israel’s refusal
> to co-operate with Goldstone’s team, which we regret, also had the effect 
> of
> limiting Goldstone’s access to crucial information, not least about
> decision-making at the time of an attack which is so crucial to assessment 
> of
> legality. Given these issues, we
> cannot endorse all of Goldstone’s recommendations.
> However,
> we remain deeply concerned about the allegations of abuses committed by 
> both
> sides during the Gaza conflict.
> Hamas rocket attacks are a clear violation of international humanitarian
> law and the report raises serious questions about Israeli conduct. As 
> Goldstone himself highlights, the way
> forward is for those against whom allegations are made to carry out full,
> credible and impartial investigations.
> Israel has undertaken a number of investigations, but we do not believe
> these have yet adequately addressed the concerns highlighted by Goldstone 
> and
> elsewhere, including going beyond specific incidents to address the policy
> around use of weaponry and rules of engagement.
> Without
> contact with Hamas, there is little we can do to press them to face up to 
> their
> actions. We have, however, raised
> this at the highest levels with the Israeli authorities. The Prime 
> Minister has spoken to Prime
> Minister Netanyahu. The Foreign
> Secretary has spoken to Defence Minister Barak.
> The UK along with our EU partners
> played its full part in the 4-5 November UN General Assembly debate on the
> Goldstone report. We worked hard
> before the vote to reach a consensus on a resolution we could support. In 
> the end we had to abstain, with
> France and forty two others, because voting for would have meant endorsing 
> the
> report and ignoring its flaws.
> However, we maintain that the issues raised by the report are serious and
> the parties should address them. We
> were fully supportive of the core of the resolution: the need for 
> credible,
> independent investigations.
> The
> current humanitarian situation in Gaza is a serious cause for concern that 
> will
> only get worse with the onset of winter. Despite repeated representations 
> from
> the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and indeed the whole 
> international
> community, the Israeli government has not eased border restrictions 
> sufficiently
> to allow the passage of all essential humanitarian aid or significant
> reconstruction material. Continuing
> rocket fire from Gaza and the detention for over three years by Hamas of 
> Gilad
> Shalit, without Red Cross access, is also unacceptable. We welcome the 
> videotape of him released
> by Hamas on 2 October as part of a prisoner swap deal, but call again on 
> Hamas
> to release him without further delay or conditions.
> We
> believe the best way to address the various issues in the region is for a
> comprehensive peace between the parties.
> Facilitating peace remains a high priority for me. With
> the support of our international allies, we will continue to pursue 
> vigorously a
> comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution, involving a viable
> Palestinian state living alongside Israel in peace and
> security.
> I
> hope this answers your question.
> Yours sincerely,
> Near
> East Group
> Near East
> Group
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