The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict

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Nation Books has published The Goldstone Report, which was already published by the United States. So why would they do that? Well, the UN document which details in unbiased straightforward documentation and eyewitness reports, details the crimes of both the Israeli military and Hamas in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s decision to break the lull agreement of non-belligerency it signed with Hamas only months before. (Hamas had stopped its attacks against Israel and almost ended all rocket attacks by militants who were responding to Israel’s murder of Palestinians in the West Bank during the lull. On the US election day, Israel viciously assaulted the Gaza Strip murdering scores of Palestinian civilians and engaging in a hi-tech strategy of one-sided and biased public relations and communications, ending it only on the day Barack Obama was finally sworn in as president many weeks later.)

The tragedy of the Goldstone Repport is that the extremist activists on both sides have exploited its findings to suit their own PR goals. Israeli fanatics challenged the report and even called its author, international Jewish jurist Richard Goldstone, an “anti-Semite” for daring to expose Israel’s atrocities Palestinian fanatics ignored the report’s conclusions that Hamas engaged in war crimes by striking out intentionally at civilian targets, too. The difference between the two terrorist assaults and the extremists is that Israel is better at achieving its goals while Hamas is basically driven by suicide and wanton assaults targeting civilians.

So the authors have decided to give the Palestinians some leverage by not only presenting the Goldstone Report in its entirety, but by backing it up with essays, some of which are enlightening and others that are the typical kind of radical expressions of anger and rantings driven by a hatred for Jews. It’s troubling how no one can seem to present the report in an objective manner and this collection of typically hateful anti-Israeli and even viciously hateful assaults against the secular Palestinian government of the Palestine National Authority.

Writers like Laila el-Haddad, the extremist who closes her eyes to the violence when it is committed by her own people and screams to exaggerated heights when the victims are Palestinian. Yes, Israel’s army did commit atrocities, but so did Hamas, something that el-Haddad, a strident hateful voice barks out loud. El-Haddad’s only real talent is to spout hatred from her blogs, attacking other Palestinians who disagree with her extremist agenda and blindness to the terrorism of the Hamas organization.

Ali Abunimeh, the son of Palestinian aristocracy and privilege, wails about the Israelis also ignoring the actions of the Hamas terrorist organization. And in usual, ineffective narrative, rails through a history of the Palestine conflict asserting almost ridiculously that the Goldstone Report has opened up eyes of Americans to Israel’s violations of human rights. Unlike el-Haddad, Abunimeh is a talented and gifted writer, though misguided and somewhat contradictory in his off and on expressions of support for compromise and support for the creation of “one state.” A frequent critic whose voice helped to undermine the peace process, Abunimeh cannot see past his dislike of Israelis or recognize the failure of the Palestinian leadership, which he is a part. That leadership is as much responsible for the Palestinian tragedy giving  Israel opportunities to steal more Palestinian lands, expel more innocent Palestinians, kill Palestinian civilians (men, women, children and the elderly). Under their failed leadership, Israel has continued to annex more and more Palestinian lands, erased more and more of the Palestinian presence in historic Palestine including in the parts that are now Israel, They embrace failure but they continue to see in that failure a bastardized hope for the future that is not so much a dream but a living nightmare for the Palestinian refugees and Palestinians throughout the Diaspora who can only complain but not act to change one thing in their favor.

So they pretend they have made a difference in their self-delusions, claiming that Americans are changing their attitudes and are supporting the Palestinian cause. In fact, Americans more and more oppose Palestinian rights even though those rights are written int he stone of International Laws.

Tragically, with “champions” like Abunimeh and el-Haddad on the side of the Palestinians, the Palestinians continue to step backwards in their just struggle against the brutal and illegal Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, not to even mention of the Golan Heights.

The book would have done much to enlighten the public had it offered a balance in its interpretation. Instead, Adam Horowitz, co-editor of the extremist web site Mondoweiss which regularly attacks Palestinians who seek to embrace balance and compromise, has brought together some great writers and some of the usual rabble that has undermined Palestinian civil rights through their illogical rantings and screams.

Maybe there will be a book that takes the Goldstone Report and offer it up in a balanced and accurate analysis that reinforces, not undermines, the just cause of the Palestinian people. But some of the essays are so biased that any typical American reader — and most Americans won’t even waste their time reading it — would close it up and give it away.

Some of the essays worth reading include Raji Sourani, the human rights lawyer based in Gaza City and the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Henry Siegman, a Jewish American and director of the US/Middle East Project, Rashid Khalidi the distinguished Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies at Columbia University who occasionally allows his emotions to get the better of his writings,  former Congressman Brian Baird who visited the Gaza Strip often and is one of the few members of Congress who understand the true dynamics of the conflict, and the most distinguished archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner whose reasoned perspectives on the Palestine-Israel conflict have given the Palestinians their only toe-to-toe equilibrium with the Israelis.

The book is worth reading but take a black marker and x-out the propaganda from Abunimeh and el-Haddad, two misguided writers whose emotions always overcome reason.

The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict
Nation Books
Edited by Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Philip Weiss
2011
425 pages

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com