Whilst we have no insights into the events on the ground we believe that the Israeli government has missed an opportunity in its peremptory reactions to the recently released UN Goldstone Report.
In the view of Meretz UK, the government ought now to follow their commendations contained within the report to investigate the alleged violations, and then report back to the UN within the given period. By contrast, the government has chosen to reject the report out of hand as somehow inevitably biased against Israel. This approach, we feel, will ultimately prove counter-productive, not least because it sends the message that Israel has something to hide.
To date the Israeli government has not acted in a democratic manner, through only allowing internal military investigations. Surely it would have boosted Israeli credibility to have ordered independent investigations into the matter? Instead its position was always that their entire strategy was right, and that none of the IDF soldiers could have done any wrong, with the exception of some "unavoidable mistakes."
Moreover, the Israeli government chose not to help the UN fact finding teams in their investigations. Having done so, does that not erode its right to criticize now? Nor has the government recognised that the techniques and strategies of Hamas were likewise condemned as possible war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity, and that the report also calls for the immediate release of Gillad Shalit.
Meretz UK believes that direct negotiations and improvement of human conditions in Gaza could have brought about far better conditions for an end to the terrorising rocket attacks. This avenue had not been tested, because of a stubborn position of not talking to Hamas. We remember that there was a time when Israel refused to speak to the PLO and the PLO to Israel, and that since they do, conditions have improved.
Several Israeli NGO's, registered and run by Israelis, and representing Jewish Israelis, have declared that Human Rights violations have occurred,amongst them most prominently Breaking The Silence and B'tselem. Meretz UK believes that it is the duty of any moral and law obeying country to investigate any claims properly before an independent tribunal.
A true democratic spirit starts with allowing questions to be asked and investigated, and fails with questions being disallowed and thrown over board at face value.
We understand that the U.N. has at times been biased and hostile towards Israel, but the U.N. was also instrumental in securing for Israel its right to become a member state, and to become a nation in law amidst other nations.
Furthermore Jews like Rene Cassin were instrumental in the creation of the UN in the shadow of the Shoa. We also believe that if the Israeli government cooperated more within a democratic and legal spirit, it would command the respect and support it tries to gain so strongly. It is this democratic, law obeying and morally conscious Israel that Meretz UK wishes for and works towards.
Meretz UK was not in support of military actions in 2009, and acknowledges and regrets that a very high number of people perished as a result on the Palestinian side, including a considerable proportion of innocent civilians.
We support further independent investigations,and request that Israel investigate any claims properly.
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