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Friday, September 25, 2009

Ehud Barak rips Goldstone

Defense Minister Ehud Barak - who cannot be accused of being a Right winger - ripped the Goldstone Commission report in Friday's Wall Street Journal.
After enduring eight years of ongoing rocket fire—in which 12,000 missiles were launched against our cities, and after all diplomatic efforts to stop this barrage failed—it was my duty as defense minister to do something about it. It's as simple and self-evident as the right to self-defense.

While such logic eluded Mr. Goldstone and his team, it was crystal clear to the thousands of Israeli children living in southern Israel who had to study, play, eat and sleep while being preoccupied about the distance to the nearest bomb shelter. When I accompanied then-presidential candidate Barack Obama on his visit to the shelled city of Sderot, he said "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." Too bad the Human Rights Council wasn't listening.

Whenever we are forced to defend our own lives, it is our obligation to do so in a way that ensures that the lives of innocent civilians on the other side are protected. This duty becomes extremely difficult when we have to face an enemy that intentionally deploys its forces in densely populated areas, stores its explosives in private homes, and launches rockets from crowded school yards and mosques. In Gaza, we reached out to the civilians via millions of leaflets, telephone calls and text messages urging them to leave areas before we acted.

So when the Goldstone mission gathers testimony from local residents in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but forgets to ask them whether they happened to notice any armed Palestinians during the Israeli operation, or didn't realize that its impartially chosen witnesses happened to be known Hamas operatives according to Israeli intelligence, I begin to question the methodology of such a "fact-finding" effort.

Although I am incensed by the Goldstone Report, I must admit that I was not surprised. It is, more than anything else, a political statement—not a legal analysis.
Barak goes on to list some of the ways in which Israel attempted to minimize civilians casualties. He says that the only ones who will benefit from this report are the terrorists - other democracies will be hurt by it. Hopefully, Obama and the Europeans see that.

Hopefully. So far, I'm not sure that the Europeans see it.

Read the whole thing.


At 10:20 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its not just a right-wing view in Israel. The revulsion and distaste felt for what Goldstone wrought united Israelis cross the political spectrum - Barak is right... it was a kangaroo court. It convicted Israel even before any of the evidence was heard. Barak's statement represents the views of the vast majority of Israelis. The country, despite its enemies' best efforts, is more united than at any time in its history. That is no small achievement and the Jewish people can take a measure of solace in it as they head into Yom Kippur this weekend.


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