Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: the Goldstone Report


Decision an Insult to the Victims

Al Mezan Center For Human Rights, 3 October 2009

A Joint Press Release from Adalah * Addameer * Aldameer * Al Haq * Al Mezan * Badil * Civic Coalition for Jerusalem * DCI-Palestine * ENSAN Centre * Independent Commission for Human Rights * Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre * Palestinian Centre for Human Rights * Ramallah Centre for Human Rights Studies * Women’s Centre for Legal Aid and Counselling *

Yesterday, 2 October 2009, the Palestinian leadership – under heavy international pressure lead by the United States – deferred the draft proposal at the Human Rights Council endorsing all the recommendations of the UN Fact Finding Mission (the Goldstone Report). This deferral denies the Palestinian peoples’ right to an effective judicial remedy and the equal protection of the law. It represents the triumph of politics over human rights. It is an insult to all victims and a rejection of their rights.

The crimes documented in the report of the UN Fact Finding Mission represent the most serious violations of international law; Justice Goldstone concluded that there was evidence to indicate that crimes against humanity may have been committed in the Gaza Strip. Violations of international law continue to this day, inter alia, through the continuing Israeli-imposed illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip. The findings of the Mission confirmed earlier investigations conducted by independent Palestinian, Israeli and international organisations.

The injustice that has now been brought upon Palestinians has been brought upon everyone on this globe. International human rights and humanitarian law are not subject to discrimination, they are not dependent on nationality, religion, or political affiliation. International human rights and humanitarian law apply universally to all human beings.

The rule of law is intended to protect individuals, to guarantee their fundamental rights. Yet, if the rule of law is to be respected it must be enforced. World history, and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has shown us that as long as impunity persists, the law will continue to be violated; innocent civilians will continue to suffer the horrific consequences.

Justice delayed is justice denied. All victims have a legitimate right to an effective judicial remedy, and the equal protection of the law. These rights are universal: they are not subject to political considerations. In the nine months since Operation Cast Lead, no effective judicial investigations have been conducted into the conflict. Impunity prevails. In such situations, international law demands recourse to international judicial mechanisms. Victims’ rights must be upheld. Those responsible must be held to account.

The belief that accountability and the rule of law can be brushed aside in the pursuit of peace is misguided. History has taught us time and time again, that sustainable peace can only be built on human rights, on justice, and the rule of law. For many years in Palestine international law, and the rule of law, has been sacrificed in the name of politics, and cast aside in favour of the peace process. This approach has been tried, and it has failed: the occupation has been solidified, illegal settlements have continued to expand, the right to self determination has been denied; innocent civilians suffer the horrific consequences. It is now time to pursue justice, and a peace built on a foundation of human rights, dignity, and the rule of law. In Justice Goldstone’s words, there is no peace without justice.

As human rights organizations we strongly condemn the Palestinian leaderships’ decision to defer the proposal endorsing all the recommendations of the Fact Finding Mission, and the pressure exerted by certain members of the international community. Such pressure is in conflict with States’ international obligations, and is an insult to the Palestinian people.

As human rights organizations concerned with rights and justice, we declare that we will double our efforts to seek justice for the victims of the violations of human rights and international law in oPt [Occupied Palestinian Territory] without delay.

July 18, 2009
Madison Children’s Museum Benefit Sale

Madison Children’s Museum Warehouse
8830 N. Greenview Drive, Middleton [Map]
7:00 AM to 4:00 PM

A new Fair Trade Crafts sale has been added outdoors to the Madison Children’s Museum Annual Benefit Sale of American Girl Returns & Seconds. The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project and other local groups will be participating.



Annual Benefit Sale of American Girl Returns & Seconds

See what’s new this year!

Tickets for the 2009 sale are SOLD OUT! MCM members can shop without a ticket starting at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 18. At 3 p.m. the general public can enter the warehouse with free tickets. These free tickets will be issued at the MCM information tent beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the sale.

Thank you for your interest and support of this important fundraiser for Madison Children’s Museum and American Girl’s Fund for Children. We want loyal supporters like you to be aware of important changes that will be made in 2009.

  • This year we will condense the sale into a one-day event on Saturday, July 18, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Shoppers will see a change in inventory offered at this year’s sale due to new federal safety requirements for children’s products. Because of these new, more stringent laws, our 2009 sale inventory is now limited to only American Girl’s popular dolls and books. In the future, it is possible more categories of product may become eligible.
  • As in past years, timed tickets will be required for entry to the sale from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Tickets for the 2009 sale are SOLD OUT.
  • At 2:30 p.m., members of Madison Children’s Museum will be allowed to enter the warehouse without a ticket.
  • At 3:00 p.m., the genereal public will be allowed to enter the warehouse without a ticket.
  • To receive email updates about our Annual Benefit Sale, including ticket information and price list, when they are available, click here.
  • If you currently receive our email updates, we strongly encourage you not to opt out as it will result in permanently removing you from all of our email communications.

Thank you for your patience and ongoing support while we continue to determine the details of this year’s sale. Please check back regularly for updates. If you have immediate questions, please contact Marianne Madar, our sale manager, at mmadar@madisonchildrensmuseum.org. We appreciate your patience.

Please do not contact American Girl regarding this sale. American Girl is not responsible for the condition of the merchandise or the management of the sale.

July 19, 2009
Palestine Program at Prairie Unitarian: "When Breathing is Defiance"

Stories from Occupied Palestine
Prairie Meeting House
2010 Whenona Drive, Madison [Map]
10:00 AM

As part of the Sunday service at 10 am on July 19 there will be a presentation on Palestine organized by the Social Action Committee of the Prairie Unitarian Universalist Society.

The presenters will be Nathan Beck and Sol Thea Kelley-Jones, solidarity workers and human rights activists who have worked on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories of the West Bank.

President Obama has said that “the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.” The Prairie program will report on current developments in Palestine, followed by a discussion of how a two state solution could be achieved.

From President Obama’s statement in Cairo, Egypt:

    “America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. Obama further stated “that it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people – Muslims and Christians – have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than sixty years they endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.”

June 5 – 11, 2009
Film: The Lemon Tree

FOR ONE WEEK ONLY! The Lemon Tree | Shajarat limon | Etz halimon
(Israel-France-Germany). Based on true stories behind the ‘separation wall’.

Sundance Cinemas Madison
(NR) Screening Room; Arabic, Hebrew, English dialogue; Subtitled
Fri: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10
Sat: (4:40), 7:10
Sun – Thu: (1:25), (4:40), 7:10

Salma Zidane refuses to let the Israeli military destroy her lemon grove.

Wisdom and sadness in a universal tale of fighting the odds

Ray Bennett, The Hollywood Reporter, May 30, 2009

BERLIN — Taking its cue from the old song, the fruit of Eran Riklis' wise and poignant film "Lemon Tree" is as unpalatable as the age-old and relentless friction between Israel and the West Bank.

It's a simple tale of a Palestinian woman who refuses to allow her lemon grove to be destroyed by the Israeli military, which claims that it might harbor terrorists. Its universal story of a stubborn individual who resists powerful forces and the two lonely women who connect as a result will resonate with grown-up audiences everywhere.

Hiam Abbass, who appeared in Riklis' 2004 picture "The Syrian Bride," stars as Salma Zidane, the sorrowful owner of a small lemon grove full of trees planted by her late father. Her husband died 10 years earlier and her children have grown and moved out.

Riklis and co-writer Suha Arraf take time to establish Salma's relationship to the lemon trees as she tends them lovingly, sleeps in the shade of their branches, hears the fruit fall one by one, jars pickled lemons and makes very tasty lemonade.

Trouble comes along fast, however, when Israel's new defense minister, Israel Navon (Doron Tavory), who makes political capital with bold statements about defending his nation from terrorists, moves into a house on the West Bank border right next to Salma's lemon grove.

Barbed wire fences are swiftly erected along with a watchtower manned with machine-guns. Deciding that it's not enough, the Secret Service declares the lemon grove to be an immediate and deadly threat and orders the trees to be hacked down.

Determined to protect her family heritage not to mention her only source of income, Salma seeks the help of a lawyer, Ziad Doud (Ali Suliman), from a nearby refugee camp to represent her, and their case goes all the way to the Supreme Court.

As someone says in the film, happy endings are only for Hollywood movies, and Riklis sustains a kind but unsentimental tone as the story develops several threads. Among these are a slow-burning love interest between the widow and her counsel, and the revelation that all is not well in the defense minister's household.

His wife, Mira (Rona Lipaz-Michael), misses their grown children as well as her frequently absent husband. As her loneliness grows, she begins to identify with the plight of her neighbor even though they remain virtual strangers.

The cast is uniformly fine, but Abbass and Lipaz-Michael shine as two women who bond in the fear that the best of their lives is over and neither of them is happy with what the future holds. It's not a gloomy film, but in his parable of the tiny differences than can separate nations, Riklis suggests there's no great reason for optimism.

Continue reading

April 23-24, 2009
Palestinian Poet Mahmoud Darwish

Thursday, April 23th
7:00 to 9:30 PM
107 Psychology Building
UW-Madison

Dr. Najat Rahman will give a lecture about the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish and the significance of his poetry. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

Friday, April 24th
7:30 to midnight
On Wisconsin Room, Red Gym
UW-Madison

This is a cultural night that will include UW-Madison poets reciting their work as American poets interacting with Darwish for the first time, a lecture by Dr. Rahman, Arabic music, poetry recitation in Arabic and English, and a fantastic art exhibit from Palestine. Free food reception included.

Gaza Benefit Dinner, Goodman Atwood Community Center

Goodman Atwood Community Center
149 Waubesa Street
6:00 – 8:00 pm

Sponsored by Madison East High School Students for Justice in Palestine.

A vegetarian Middle Eastern dinner will be served at 6 pm, simultaneously with a cooking demonstration by Chef Sabi Attiyeh – baklava and dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) – followed by a presentation with slides by Lora Gordon, activist recently returned from two months in Rafah and Gaza. Entertainment will be provided by East High School jazz quartet.

Funds raised will go to the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) for Gaza relief. Tickets: $15 in advance, for reservations contact Bill at kursk1 at tds.net.

Supported by MRSCP; for more information call (608) 238-1227.