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Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

Judge Goldstone and Gilad Shalit

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Correspondence with Judge Goldstone while he was in Gaza

on June 28 and June 29, 2009.

 

Note. Portion of the text below has been marked in red to indicate the aspects relating to Gilad Shalit

 

From:Maurice Ostroff   Sent:Sunday, June 28, 2009 15:00

 To:UN HRC Mission factfindinggaza@ohchr.org;

 Cc: rjgoldstone

 Subject:Video Memorandum

 

 

Following my earlier email copied below, please note that the Youtube address has been changed to

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx-CW3UKoIg

 

For a full screen view click on the rectangular button at the bottom of the picture next to the button marked HQ

Sincerely

Maurice Ostroff

 

 

Judge Goldstone replied:

 

Dear Mr. Ostroff,

Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending your submission via You Tube.

I have tried without success to look at it here in Gaza. I get through but each frame takes a few minutes and it would take considerable to view it. I will try again when I am in Amman at the end of this week or else in Geneva on the weekend.

With kind regards,

Richard Goldstone

 

 

From:Maurice Ostroff

 Sent:Sunday, June 28, 2009

 To:rjgoldstone

 Subject:RE: Video Memorandum

 

Dear Judge Goldstone

Thank you for your prompt response. As some of the contents of my memo relate to Gaza, I was hoping you would be able to look at it while there. If more convenient for you, I will gladly make a CD and send it to any address you specify

 

May I hope that you will possibly be able to see Gilad Shalit physically, while you are in Gaza or at least do something to ameliorate the intolerable incommunicado conditions in which he is held. As you are in communication with his father I need not elaborate on the dreadful mental torture Gilad's family members are suffering.

 

I very much appreciate your considered responses to my correspondence. Thank you

 

Sincerely

Maurice Ostroff

 

At 28-06-09 22:02, rjgoldstone@iafrica.com wrote:

 

Dear Mr. Ostroff,

Thank you for your concern. I regret that it will not be possible for me to see the memorandum before leaving Gaza very early on Wednesday morning. I did read the first few pages and look forward to seeing what comes. I might also mention that our mandate is, as you are aware, a very limited one. At the same time I do hope that our report will help, even in a small way, to finding a solution to the problems of the Middle East.

With regard to Noam Shalit, I can appropriately say no more than that I am still in communication with him. I need hardly add that as a parent I can well imagine the trauma being suffered by the family.

Kind regards,

Richard Goldstone

 

 

From: Maurice Ostroff

Date: Sun, 28 Jun 2009 23:22:35 +0300

To: rjgoldstone

Subject: RE: Gilad Shalit and incitement

 

Dear Judge Goldstone

 

Your statement that your mandate is very limited comes as a great disappointment, as on May 11 you wrote to me, that  you did not agree to accepting the leadership of the mission until you were assured that alleged war crimes and human rights violations on all sides would be subject to the investigation.

 

The widespread allegations of incitement to genocide and the denial of Geneva Convention rights to Gilad Shalit are clearly violations of international law and omitting to deal thoroughly with these matters tends to justify the fears expressed by the Israel government and others that the mission is biased. Failure to deal with these matters is certainly inconsistent with your statement that the mission's mandate is "to investigate 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".

 

I hope that you will not miss this rare opportunity of raising with the persons responsible, the blatant denial of Shalit's legal rights and the prevalent incitement to genocide.  I hope too, that you will appreciate my difficulty in understanding how a mission, operating under the banner of the UN Human Rights Council and charged with investigating all violations of Human Rights Law, appears to select some violations for investigation while turning a blind eye to others, even when the latter is obvious and an opportunity occurs to deal it. Please help me understand.

 

Sincerely

Maurice Ostroff

 

 

Response by Judge Goldstone

Mr. Ostroff,

You misunderstand me completely. I made the remark in response to the opening of your memo to the effect that the problem is not the recent events but rather incitement to hate or words to that effect. Our mandate is u

Unrestricted with regard to the contet of Operation Cast Lead and to the extent that the Shalit issue is relevant to it is also included.

Please forgive me for not vontinuing this correspondence. I am under huge time pressure. Please wait for the Geneva hearings and the report.

Best wishes,

Richard Goldstone

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Appendix A to the memorandum submitted by Maurice Ostroff to the UN Fact-finding Mission to Gaza 

 

The Continuing Incarceration of Gilad Shalit                 

 

Judge Goldstone has advised that the HRC mandate has been widened from its original narrow wording, to include investigation of all violations that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.

 

Clearly, since the continued holding of Gilad Shalit before, during and after the above period violates both International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, it falls squarely under your mandate.

 

As the Human Rights Council was created by the UN General Assembly with the main purpose of addressing human rights everywhere, it is very disappointing that your mission missed the opportunity, during your Gaza visit, to address the violations of the rights of Gilad Shalit and his family. It was hoped by many that you would at least try to obtain some tangible evidence of Shalit’s condition and whether or not he is in fact alive.

 

With the backing of Judge Goldstone’s international prestige and that of the UN in your access to the top Hamas leaders whom you praised for their cooperation, there has never been a better opportunity to obtain even a small encouraging message for Gilad’s parents.

 

While the “Cast Lead” operation will no doubt require a great deal of forensic investigation before arriving at a conclusion, the injustice of keeping this kidnapped soldier incommunicado for 1,000 days is a blatant, deliberately cruel crime against humanity that cries out for the immediate attention of your mission that was appointed by none other than the UN Human Rights Council.

 

While there may be some technical quibble about Shalit’s status as a prisoner of war, the Third Geneva Convention provides for humane treatment and the right to unfettered access to the Red Cross, as well as the right to send and receive monthly letters and cards. All of these rights are being denied to Shalit. By its own admission, Hamas controls Shalit’s fate and as such, its leaders are undeniably guilty of this appalling war crime. One cannot help but wonder what inhibited even a mention of the name Gilad Shalit by any member of your Human Rights mission while you conversed amiably with the very persons who are holding him captive.

 

By way of contrast, Palestinian prisoners in Israel enjoy visitation rights, including conjugal visits, access to telephones, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts, lawyers' visits and even academic studies at state expense.

 

Denial of POW rights to Shalit is not the only crime. The continued mental torture of Shalit’s family compounds the crime immeasurably. What greater torture can there be than tormenting parents with 24/7 anxiety for three years about whether their son is dead, and if alive in what condition? 

 

Gilad’s family continue to live this horrendous nightmare, not knowing if Gilad is dead or alive and fearing that he is possibly being tortured.  To compound the heinous crime, Hamas recently held  a public rally during which a boy dressed in IDF uniform masqueraded as Gilad Shalit reading a letter in Hebrew, telling the jeering crowd, how he misses his parents.

 

No human being with a conscience can refuse to protest this diabolical cruelty.

 

As mental torture is included in the UN ban on torture, your mission cannot ignore the deliberate torture of Gilad’s family by Hamas. Clearly acts of torture are violations of both International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law. Amnesty International describes every act of torture as a crime under international law.

 

Article 1 of the UN “Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” defines torture as any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person….” and a study by scientists published on March 6, 2007 in “News in Science” describes mental torture as bad as physical.

 

It could be that you did raise the subject of Shalit while in Gaza and that the media failed to report it. If that is the case, you are asked to please make a public statement on the matter as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

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