03 Apr

Events of Interest and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective





French forces take over Abidjan airport

French forces secure country’s main airport as fighters amass in battle to control Cote d’Ivoire’s commercial capital. 

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 11:36 GMT 



Afghans continue to denounce Quran burning

Quran burning protests continue as UN vows to maintain presence in the country, despite deadly attack on its office. 

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 04:17 GMT 



Libya ‘sends official to meet Greek leader’

Abdel Ati al-Obeidi, Libya’s deputy foreign minister, is heading to Athens to deliver a message to PM George Papandreou. 

Last Modified: 03 Apr 2011 17:00 GMT 


The ghosts of Syria

Syrians claim that roaming gangs of thugs have turned peaceful pro-democracy protests into violent chaos.

Fighting to be heard in a climate of fear

Listening Post 02 Apr 2011 14:46 GMT
Listening Post looks at the people using the media to push against the wall of fear in the Arab world.

Frost Over The World

Sir David Frost brings together the world’s most powerful and famous people.



Two Japan nuclear plant workers found dead

The utility company that runs a tsunami-crippled Japanese nuclear power plant said today two workers were killed when the wave swept ashore.


Syrian minister to form government   new

President sacked his government last week after anti-government protests. 


Rebels offer prayers yesterday by the graves of those killed by coalition planes. The friendly fire was prompted by rebels firing into the air to mark a victory

Rebels die as victims of their own disarray

Kim Sengupta: Fifteen killed when coalition planes interpreted gunshot celebrations as anti-aircraft fire. 


Judge Goldstone expresses regrets about his report into Gaza war

Richard Goldstone writes that Israeli military investigations have revealed that civilians were not targeted as a matter of policy

  • Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
  • Palestinan injured Gaza Dec 2008
    An injured Palestinian is helped from the rubble following an Israeli missile strike in the Gaza Strip on Saturday 27 December, 2008. Photograph: Hatem Omar/AP
    The judge who chaired the controversial UN inquiry into Israel’s attack on Gaza from December 2008 has expressed regret that his report may have been inaccurate.
    Richard Goldstone, who led the committee that produced the Goldstone report, said in a newspaper article that “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone report would have been a very different document”.
    The judge’s article was welcomed by Israeli leaders. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, told ministers on Sunday: “There are very few incidents in which false accusations are taken back, and this is the case with the Goldstone report.”
    He said that Israel would now try to get the report retracted by the UN.
    The Gaza War, which the Israeli army called Operation Cast Lead, began in December 2008 and lasted for three weeks.
    By the end, more than 1,400 Palestinians were dead, at least half of whom were civilians, and 13 Israelis, three of whom were civilians.

    Goldstone was asked to head a fact-finding committee into allegations of war crimes by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
    Israel refused to co-operate with the mission and would not allow Goldstone’s committee to travel to the Gaza Strip via Israel.
    The report accused both Hamas and Israel of war crimes and deliberately targeting civilians. It urged that both sides should investigate their own actions or risk being investigated by the international criminal court.
    Goldstone was vilified after the publication of the report by supporters of Israel who accused him of a “blood libel”, a false accusation that had been used to demonise Jews in the past.
    However, in a new article in the Washington Post, Goldstone appeared to backtrack from some of his findings.
    He wrote that subsequent Israeli military investigations had confirmed some of the report’s findings but also indicated that, “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy” by Israel.
    He cited the killing of 29 members of the al-Simouni family as evidence that Israel had not deliberately targeted civilians.
    “The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack.”
    Goldstone said that his committee made recommendations based on the evidence before them, but because Israel refused to submit evidence, its views could not be taken into account.
    “As I indicated right from the beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s co-operation,” he said.
    He also noted that the Israeli army had begun 400 investigations into allegations against Israeli soldiers but regretted that more than two years later, few had been finished and none had been held in public.
    Captain Aryeh Shalikar, a spokesman for the Israeli army, said that Goldstone’s article proved that Israeli forces had never intentionally targeted Gazan civilians, while the strategy of Hamas was to target Israeli civilians.
    “We have also demonstrated that we are ready and willing to investigate ourselves,” he said.
    Israeli officials admit that the Gaza war, because of the high Palestinian death toll and subsequent furore, has caused the country diplomatic and public relations problems.
    Israeli media responded to Goldstone’s article with jubilation. The columnists of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper offered a conciliatory tone to the judge for having the courage to question his initial findings, while Ma’ariv writers were unforgiving.
    One wrote: “He is undeserving of either forgiveness or mercy” and had perpetrated “a despicable and shameful act”.

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