Sunday, December 19, 2010

The wiki of Goldstone

My friend and co-researcher Anne Gough is combing the wiki leaks for matters related to Palestine and to food. I will post her findings here. Her latest piece is about Goldstone and US pressure.

Greenwashing the United Nations

It is assumed that the U.S. monitors and pressures the United Nations to due its bidding, depending on its international goals. The Wikileaks cables have affirmed this assumption. One specific cable by a U.S. diplomat reports on the behavior of the European Union member states , how they voted in the 2009 UN General Assembly and how these votes aligned or did not align with U.S. policy. The U.S. was trying to bury the Goldstone Report by encouraging the EU to vote against ratification of the report. When the EU did not unanimously align with the U.S., it is described as a failure on their part. “Although the EU succeeded in moderating some of these draft resolutions, the overall voting outcomes remained overwhelmingly against the U.S. position” (09USUNNEWYORK1141, This is in reference to members of the EU voting either for, against or to abstain on the Goldstone Report. Of course, some EU member states are willing to join with the U.S. in manipulating the UN. The report goes on to laud the Dutch for their ‘insistence of a strongly-worded EU explanation of vote against the inclusion of politicized terms like “blockade” and “collective punishment” (same cable). The purposeful exclusion of words that most accurately describe the situation of the Israeli siege on Gaza would be laughably absurd if the repercussions were not so alarming. By striking these words from the international discussion, then the discussion moves farther away from describing actual life in Gaza.

Many elements in the Goldstone Report, point to the systematic breakdown of Gaza’s food system by the Israeli military in Operation Cast Lead. Ironically this same cable mentions an Israeli sponsored technical agricultural resolution submitted to the UN. This most likely refers to the follow-up of an Israeli sponsored resolution from 2007. The Israeli government statement primarily celebrates Israel receiving attention from the UN for something other than the “Israeli – Palestinian conflict” and that this fact “represents a great diplomatic achievement for Israel” ). 

The actual resolution calls on Israel to share its “know-how” in the areas of “agriculture, fighting desertification, rural development, irrigation, medical development, computers and the empowerment of women, as reflected for many years in Israel's contribution to developing nations, particularly in Africa” (same site). This list of Israeli “know-how” is exactly what they have destroyed in Gaza, from agriculture to medical development  - as the recent increases in malnutrition, documented by the World Health Organization, have illustrated (Report of the Specialized Health Mission to the Gaza strip, May 2009). Seems like a case of greenwashing to me, albeit a very effective one.

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