The House will shortly begin debating a resolution to denounce a U.N. report into Israeli and Hamas war crimes in last year’s Gaza war co-sponsored by Rep. Howard Berman’s (D-Calif), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. The author of that report, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, wrote last week to Berman and his co-sponsors, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.), to alert them to factual errors in the resolution. Berman and Ackerman (no relation, in case you were wondering) responded with a vociferous defense of the resolution.
Even so, Berman has changed some parts of the text. Here’s the new language. First, some more ‘whereas’ clauses:
Whereas Justice Richard Goldstone, who chaired the `United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict,’ told the then-President of the UNHRC, Nigerian Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, that he intended to broaden the mandate of the Mission to include “all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after,” a phrase that, according to Justice Goldstone, was intended to allow him to investigate Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians;
Whereas Ambassador Uhomoibhi issued a statement on April 3, 2009, that endorsed part of Justice Goldstone’s proposed broadened mandate but deleted the phrase “before, during, and after,” and added inflammatory anti-Israeli language;
Whereas a so-called broadened mandate was never officially endorsed by a plenary meeting of the UNHRC, neither in the form proposed by Justice Goldstone nor in the form proposed by Ambassador Uhomoibhi;
That, at least, is a concession to Goldstone. Then there’s this, which is part of the actual “resolved” section stipulating what the House is actually saying by adopting it. I’ll put the new language in bold:
(3) calls on the President and the Secretary of State to continue to strongly and unequivocally oppose any endorsement of the `Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ in multilateral fora, including through leading opposition to any United Nations General Assembly resolution and through vetoing, if necessary, any United Nations Security Council resolution that endorses the contents of this report, seeks to act upon the recommendations contained in this report, or calls on any other international body to take further action regarding this report.