Image by Carlos Latuff
Israel seems to have some things to hide as far as the massacre in Beit Hanoun is concerned. although they claim the ‘final episode’ of the murder of a single family on one night was the fault of a ‘technical error’ they still seen unwilling to have Desmond Tutu investigate the circumstances.
Unfortunately, Palestine is not in a position to allow or disallow people to enter their territory without them having to go through Israeli security first. This raises still another question and reason to continue to struggle for Palestinian sovreignty and eventual statehood… this is key to the eventual justice that they will one day enjoy.
In the meantime, the situation is as reported in the following Associated Press report…

Tutu still awaiting Israeli entry visa to probe Beit Hanun deaths By The Associated Press

A United Nations fact-finding mission to the Gaza Strip that was to be led by Desmond Tutu is in doubt because Israel has yet to give the Nobel laureate permission to enter the territory, officials said Friday.

Tutu was to begin leading a six-member team this weekend in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanun to investigate the killings of 19 civilians in an errant Israel Defense Forces shelling last month.

But Israel has yet to grant the South African anti-apartheid campaigner and former Anglican archbishop of Cape Town the necessary travel clearance, said three different officials close to the talks between the global body and Israel.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because discussions were continuing, said they had yet to receive any indication from Israel that the mission will take place at all.

Israeli officials in Geneva said they were unable to comment immediately.

Tutu’s team was supposed to report its findings to the UN Human Rights Council by mid-December.

The 47-nation council authorized the mission last month, asking Tutu to assess the situation of victims, address the needs of survivors and make recommendations on ways to prevent further casualties.

The shelling, which Israel said was unintended, came after its troops wound up a weeklong incursion meant to curb Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip town.

The IDF said Beit Hanun was a rocket-launching stronghold.

Tutu chaired South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission after the end of white rule. Tutu, who was in Geneva, could not be reached for comment.

Earlier Friday the UN Human Rights Council passed a seventh resolution criticizing Israel on Friday, this time for its failure to act on earlier recommendations that it end military operations in the Palestinian territories and allow a fact-finding mission to the region.

The rights body, which has only condemned the Israeli government in its seven-month existence, noted with regret its July resolution urging the release of all arrested Palestinian ministers has yet to be carried out.

“Violations of the fundamental rights of the Palestinians continue unabated,” said Pakistani diplomat Tehmina Janjua on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, which proposed the resolution. “The Palestinian ministers, officials and civilians have not been set free.”

Janjua demanded that UN human rights expert John Dugard be allowed to conduct an “urgent” fact-finding in the region, which the council ordered at an emergency session only one month after it was called into existence to replace the discredited Human Rights Commission.

Criticism by the council brings no penalties beyond international attention. Countries, however, lobby hard to avoid having their rights records scrutinized.

Dugard, a former anti-apartheid civil rights lawyer from South Africa, has frequently clashed with Israel, who note that he has been mandated only with investigating violations by the Israeli side. The United States – which along with Israel is only an observer at the 47-nation council – also has dismissed Dugard’s reports as one-sided.

Only Canada voted against Friday’s resolution. Cameroon and Japan joined the 10 European members of the council in abstaining. The rest of Africa and Asia, along with all of Latin America, voted in favor.

Israel’s ambassador to the global body in Geneva criticized the council for ignoring a Nov. 26 cease-fire agreement that ended five months of fierce fighting in Gaza.

“Why does this resolution fail to make any mention of the cease-fire between Israelis and Palestinians, that persists despite the continuation of Qassam rockets fired on Israel?” Itzhak Levanon asked the council.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan urged the watchdog last month to deal with the Mideast conflict in an impartial manner, and said it was time to focus attention on “graver” crises such as Darfur.

Despite his plea, the council has passed only a watered-down resolution on the western Sudanese region proposed by African countries, which urged all parties to the conflict to end human rights violations.


  1. LanceThruster said,

    December 9, 2006 at 10:28

    Could it be a desire to clean up the crime scene first and coach (or threaten) any potential witnesses?

  2. DesertPeace said,

    December 9, 2006 at 10:45

    They had a month or so for that already Lance…. somehow I think it goes deeper than that.

  3. LanceThruster said,

    December 9, 2006 at 23:10

    Then I guess it is just unacceptable for a man with some credibility to bring a spotlight to bear on Israeli brutality, pure and simple. Yet another Israeli “sin of omission” as they prevent the story from reverberating in the echo chamber.

  4. DesertPeace said,

    December 9, 2006 at 23:12

    Good guess Lance…..

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