Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 05:54:00 PM EST
Does Human Rights Watch take orders directly from the U.S. Department of State, or is it that the two bodies' shared excess of empathy for Israel makes them just seem to be in lock step? Specifically, why does HRW not call for an independent international investigation of Israeli piracy in international waters and its massacre of civilians on the Mavi Marmara? Why call for Israel to investigate itself when they _know_ an Israeli investigation will be bullshit? HRW admits the last in the final sentence blockquoted below:
Israel: Full, Impartial Investigation of Flotilla Killings Essential
May 31, 2010
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director.
(New York) - Israel should promptly conduct a credible and impartial investigation into the deaths of at least 10 activists after Israeli security forces boarded ships that were part of an "aid flotilla" to Gaza, Human Rights Watch said today. . . .
"A prompt, credible, and impartial investigation is absolutely essential to determine whether the lethal force used by Israeli commandos was necessary to protect lives and whether it could have been avoided," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Given Israel's poor track record of investigating unlawful killings by its armed forces, the international community should closely monitor any inquiry to ensure it meets basic international standards and that any wrongdoers are brought to justice."
And yet HRW doesn't ask for an independent international investigation, exactly in line with the U.S. government's position:
Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US
Turkey's demands for international inquiry blocked at meeting of United Nations security council
Chris McGreal in Washington guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 June 2010 19.16 BST
The United States has blocked demands at the UN security council for an international inquiry into Israel's assault on the Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
A compromise statement instead calls for an impartial investigation which Washington indicated could be carried out by Israel.
Turkey pressed for the security council to launch an investigation similar to Richard Goldstone's inquiry into last year's fighting in Gaza which prompted protests from Israel when it concluded that Israel and Hamas were probably guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity. . . .
But in hours of diplomatic wrangling, the US blocked the move and instead forced a statement that called for "a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation conforming to international standards". The US representative at the security council discussions, Alejandro Wolff, indicated that Washington would be satisfied with Israel investigating itself when he called for it to undertake a credible investigation.
The Israeli government is certain to launch its own inquiry in part as a response to domestic criticism that its forces were ill-prepared for the resistance they met on the ship. But any self-inquiry is likely to be met with the same scepticism beyond Israel's borders that met its investigations into last year's Gaza war and its 2006 invasion of Lebanon which criticised aspects of the handling of the operations but did not challenge the underlying claim that they were essential for Israel's security. . . .
And it is not just the 'not serious' Israeli attitude toward really investigating possible law of war violations committed during the Gaza invasion. Robert Fisk notes three additional incidences of Israeli international outlawery just since January, toward all of which the Israeli attitude is 'screw you, we'll do whatever we want':
Goldstone report, November 2009
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. More than 1,400 Palestinians were killed in the three-week conflict along with 13 Israelis. The South African jurist Richard Goldstone's report into the conflict found both Israel and the Hamas movement that controls the Strip guilty of war crimes, but focused more on Israel. Israel refused to co-operate with Goldstone and described his report as distorted and biased.
The al-Mabhouh assassination, January-May 2010
Britain and Australia expelled Israeli diplomats after concluding that Israel had forged British and Australian passports used by assassins to kill a Hamas commander in Dubai. Israel has neither confirmed or denied a role in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in his hotel room in January. Britain said such misuse of British passports was "intolerable". Australia said it was not the behaviour of "a nation with whom we have had such a close, friendly and supportive relationship".
*Settlements row, March 2010
Israel announces plans, during visit by US Vice-President Joe Biden, to build 1,600 homes for Jews in an area of the West Bank annexed by Israel. The announcement triggers unusually harsh criticism from the United States. Washington said it damaged its efforts to revive the Middle East peace process. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the project was an insult. Netanyahu said he was blindsided by planning bureaucrats and apologised to Biden. Today's meeting with Barack Obama at the White House, called off by Mr Netanyahu so he could return home to deal with the flotilla crisis, was supposed to be another part of the fence-mending between the two allies.
*Nuclear secrecy, May 2010
Israel, widely assumed to have the Middle East's only nuclear arsenal, has faced renewed calls to sign a global treaty barring the spread of atomic weapons. Signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) last week called for a conference in 2012 to discuss banning weapons of mass destruction throughout the Middle East. The declaration was adopted by all 189 parties to the NPT, including the US. It urged Israel to sign the NPT and put its nuclear facilities under UN safeguards.
More on the peace ship massacre:
Israelis opened fire before boarding Gaza flotilla, say released activists
First eyewitness accounts of raid contradict version put out by Israeli officials
Dorian Jones in Istanbul and Helena Smith guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 June 2010 14.12 BST
. . . Arriving at Istanbul's Ataturk airport with her one-year-old baby, Turkish activist Nilufer Cetin said Israeli troops opened fire before boarding the Turkish-flagged ferry Mavi Marmara, which was the scene of the worst clashes and all the fatalities. Israeli officials have said that the use of armed force began when its boarding party was attacked.
"It was extremely bad and very tough clashes took place. The Mavi Marmara is filled with blood," said Cetin, whose husband is the Mavi Marmara's chief engineer.
She told reporters that she and her child hid in the bathroom of their cabin during the confrontation. "The operation started immediately with firing. First it was warning shots, but when the Mavi Marmara wouldn't stop these warnings turned into an attack," she said.
"There were sound and smoke bombs and later they used gas bombs. Following the bombings they started to come on board from helicopters." . . .
"It was like war. They had guns, Taser weapons, some type of teargas and other weaponry, compared to two-and-a-half wooden sticks we had between us. To talk of self-defence is ridiculous." -- Annette Groth, party of The Left (Die Linke) German MP, who was aboard the Mavi Marmara.
More on Israel's 'screw you' just don't get it attitude about what it's done:
'Next time we'll use more force'
By YAAKOV KATZ, AP AND JPOST.COM STAFF
Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. . . .
Hair-curling demo in support of flotilla raid outside Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv
by Philip Weiss on June 1, 2010
Wow. What has Israel become? . . .
[Check out the video]
(Citizens of Indonesia, Lebanon, and Qatar are 'nationals of enemy states'?)
Red Cross visits wounded nationals of enemy states
By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH
Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross for Israel and Gaza went on Tuesday to hospitals where foreign civilians from countries without diplomatic relations with Israel who were injured in the Marmara ship conflict are being treated. . . .
The Jerusalem Post learned from hospital sources that those visited include people from Lebanon, Indonesia and Qatar.
If you're in New York:
RALLY AGAINST THE ISRAELI ATTACKS ON THE GAZA FLOTILLA- PART 2!
Date: Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Time: 5:00pm - 8:00pm
Location: Israeli Consulate
Street: 42nd street & 2nd Ave
City/Town: Manhattan, NY