Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Goldstone report and the battle for legitimacy

Richard Falk, The Electronic Intifada, 22 September 2009

In the end, the Goldstone report is unlikely to break the inter-governmental refusal to challenge the Israeli blockade of Gaza or to induce the UN to challenge Israeli impunity in any meaningful way. Depending on back room diplomacy, the US may or may not be able to avoid playing a public role of shielding Israel from accountability for its behavior during the Gaza war or its continuing refusal to abide by international humanitarian law by lifting the blockade that continues to impinge daily upon the health of the entire population of Gaza.

Despite these limitations, the report is an historic contribution to the Palestinian struggle for justice, an impeccable documentation of a crucial chapter in their victimization under occupation. Its impact will be felt most impressively on the growing civil society movement throughout the world to impose cultural, sporting and academic boycotts, as well as to discourage investment, trade and tourism with Israel. It may yet be the case that as in the anti-apartheid struggle the shift in the relation of forces in the Palestinian favor will occur not through diplomacy or as a result of armed resistance, but on the symbolic battlefield of legitimacy that has become global in scope, what might be described as the new political relevance of moral and legal globalization."

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