PRESS RELEASE

Geneva, May 5, 2009Hillel Neuer, executive director of the Geneva-based monitoring group UN Watch, issued the following statement today in advance of a meeting with NGOs and members of the UN Gaza inquiry mission:

UN Watch joins with other stakeholders, including several member states, that have expressed deep concerns with the mandate of the inquiry established by UN Human Rights Council Resolution S/9-1 in January.

The terms of the resolution, which deliberately excluded any scrutiny of Hamas or other actors in the region, called for “an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission … 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.”

It is surprising that Mr. Richard Goldstone would accept an inquiry whose mandate begins by prejudging one side to be the aggressor and not self-defence, and by prejudging that same side to have the monopoly on violations. While he has reported receiving separate and more expansive terms from the council president, neither Goldstone nor anyone else from the UN has denied that the Council’s legal resolution is the ultimate source and frame for the “fact-finding” mission. We call on Mr. Goldstone today to denounce the one-sided, prejudicial and counter-productive nature of the mandate created by Resolution S/9-1.

Indeed, every one of the repeated investigations of Israel by the Arab-dominated U.N. Human Rights Council has proceeded upside down: first they declare a guilty verdict, and then afterward they ask for facts to be gathered. Their purpose is less judicial than it is political and even military: to pressure Israelis into not responding to rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, or else risk selective prosecution by certain U.N. bodies.

We do not impugn the motives of Mr. Goldstone. But his own statements raise serious questions about whether he is aware of elementary facts about the council’s record and intentions, and therefore, serious questions about whether he truly appreciates the consequences of his actions.

For example, on April 3, 2009, Mr. Goldstone was quoted by Agence France Presse as saying that it had been “quite a shock, as a Jew, to be invited” to head the Gaza mission. But anyone who knows a little about the Council would recognize this U.N. tactic. Indeed, the Arab states orchestrated the naming of Richard Falk, an American Jew, to be the council’s permanent investigator on alleged Israeli violations. Falk was chosen because of his published views comparing Israelis to Nazis. Falk also happens to be a leading purveyor of the claim that the attacks of 9/11 were an inside job.

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