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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Goldstone commentary link dump

Yes, I even have too much commentary on the Goldstone Report, so here's some of it for you to read yourselves.

'Palestinian policemen' killed in attack on police academy were trained terrorists (this attack was one of the events addressed by the Goldstone Report).

Israeli government reaction to the Goldstone Report. Here are some choice comments:
An initial Foreign Ministry promise to "read the report carefully" transformed quickly into "nausea and fury," in the words of ministry spokesman Yossi Levy.

Israeli officials were particularly stunned that the document summarily rejected the legal worth of Israel's own judicial bodies. In a country where the High Court of Justice can stop a battle in mid-stream, as happened in Jenin in 2002 until the facts of the alleged massacre were determined, it was difficult to understand the Goldstone panel's mistrust of the Israeli judiciary, officials said.

"Israel has examined itself in the light of day in innumerable investigations and a robust system of independent courts," said Levy. "We have nothing to be ashamed of, and don't need lessons in morality from a committee established by Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Somalia."

Israel is "nauseated and furious about a report that did not surprise us in its imbalance, but did surprise us in the lack of any real pretense to balance," he said, calling it "one of the most disgraceful documents in the long collection of shameful documents put out by the United Nations."

"The immediate message of this report is: Terror pays. It says that terrorists who attack Jews, unlike terrorists who attack Americans, Spaniards, or other Arabs, will earn the protection of the UN," he said.

A Foreign Ministry statement noted that the IDF had examined more than 100 allegations regarding the conduct of its forces during the Gaza campaign, resulting in 23 outstanding criminal investigations.
Goldstone Report a 'grave blow' for Israel:
Just as grave is the damage on the legal-military front. The report explicitly rules that the combat methods and armaments utilized by the IDF even prior to Operation Cast Lead, as well as during the campaign, are illegitimate, violate the Geneva Convention, and constitute a war crime. Should the conclusions be adopted by the Security Council and UN secretary general, this will constitute overwhelming de-legitimization to the methods and arms planned by the IDF for future combat should the Israeli home front be attacked with missiles from Lebanon, Syria, or Gaza.

Hence, this marks a first-rate achievement for terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas; it may encourage them to keep using the civilian population as a human shield.

Moreover, Goldstone and his colleagues almost completely ignore the IDF’s numerous and creative efforts to avoid harm to civilians and rule that not enough had been done. Absurdly, the report claims that the IDF used the civilian population as a human shield, while largely disregarding the broad utilization of civilians by Hamas. The implication of this is that the Goldstone Report directly and blatantly serves the strategic effort of the radical elements in the Muslim world in their attempt to tie the IDF’s hands in its war against missile attacks.

However, this does not only limit the IDF, but also American forces and Western allies operating against Global Jihad terror and guerilla groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

Judge Richard Goldstone even said explicitly that the issue of personal criminal responsibility must be looked into in respect to what happened in Gaza, a clear call on the UN to examine the possibility of trying senior Israeli army and government officials on war crime charges. Palestinian elements and their supporters will rush to submit a series of such petitions to European courts that are willing to accept them.
Maybe next time we should just use napalm.

Goldstone's 'kangaroo court':
The evidence, as Goldstone stated, was based almost entirely on unverifiable Palestinian claims and publications from politicized pro-Palestinian NGOs - the report cites B'Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights more than 70 times each, Al-Haq allegations get more than 30 mentions, and there are many more NGO co-authors.

Human Rights Watch is referenced 33 times, including the "Rain of Fire" report co-authored by Marc Garlasco. He was HRW's "senior military expert" (until suspended on Monday after the exposure of his Nazi-memorabilia fetish), but his analyses are tainted by false claims and speculation masquerading as expertise. Goldstone's long association with HRW essentially means that in this report, he is quoting his own highly problematic organization.


At the same time, Goldstone's report is full of statements of "fact" that defy belief and come without any evidentiary source. For instance, contrary to numerous contemporary reports in media outlets like The New York Times, the report denies, without citing any of the evidence, that Hamas fighters dressed in civilian clothing hid in hospital facilities and used ambulances to transport combatants and for other military purposes.

Even more shockingly, the Goldstone report repeatedly accuses Israel of violating international law by committing acts of terror, while it refrains from directly accusing Hamas of violating those laws. Worse, the report never even admits that Hamas is a terrorist organization.

If this were a real court process, and not a façade based on a political mandate from the inherently biased United Nations Human Rights Council, both Goldstone and Prof. Christine Chinkin would have been disqualified from participating. As UN Watch noted in its 28-page legal brief to the UN, Chinkin's bias was reflected in statements that "categorically rejected" Israel's right to self-defense against rocket attacks from Gaza and accused Israel of "aggression" and "prima facie war crimes." But without any due process, this brief was simply dismissed.

In parallel, the choice of Goldstone was seen as an insurance policy against charges of anti-Semitism. Indeed, when the issue came up at the press conference in New York, Goldstone invoked his Jewish background and his involvement with Israel as a defense. He expressed sadness over Israel's being found (at least by his committee and its allies) to have committed war crimes.
The Goldstone Report rewards Palestinian terror.

The Foreign Ministry's Gaza facts page.

The Foreign Ministry's comments on the Goldstone Commission report.

War crimes in Gaza. This one is bad news:
Israel's government has responded hyperbolically and hysterically to the Goldstone Report, attacking the United Nations for encouraging terror. The report accuses Israel of war crimes during last summer's Gaza campaign. It did not deny Israel's right of self-defense or the legality of going to war according to international law. The U.N. commission criticized particular operational decisions and conduct within Operation Cast Iron, rather than the operation as a whole.

A just war must be justly run. A legitimate casus belli must be pursued according to international law's rules of belligerence. In the Gaza case, even the Israel Defense Force (IDF) acknowledged that fighting was conducted according to a principle that differed substantially from previous campaigns. This time, saving the life and limb of Israeli soldiers trumped the safety of Palestinian civilians. It may have been a just war, but it was conducted prima-facie illegally and immorally.

Ironically, the international community must also blame its own reaction to previous incidents. In 2002, while pursuing terror suspects in Jenin, the IDF employed a sharply different moral code. It attempted to minimize damage to innocent civilians, at a high cost of fatalities and casualties among the soldiers. Some parts of the international community were nevertheless quick to accuse Israel of massacring Palestinians in Jenin, an accusation that was patently wrong, but in some quarters never withdrawn. Why, said Israel, should we pay twice? Damned if we do and damned if we don't, let us at least keep our soldiers unhurt.

Yet Richard Goldstone, a highly respected international jurist, is no anti-Israeli opportunist. He cannot be accused of anti-Zionism, let alone anti-Semitism. His report must be taken very seriously, even if Israeli authorities are quick to reject its conclusions wholesale.
If the 'Palestinians' were being used by Hamas as human shields, Israel's obligation to minimize damage to them is greatly reduced. All the more so if they are doing so willingly.

It's a good thing that there was no United Nations in World War II.
After reading the Goldstone Report on human-rights abuses committed during the Gaza War (December 27, 2008–January 19, 2009), all I can say is, it’s a good thing that the United Nations wasn’t around during World War II. I can just imagine its producing a supposedly evenhanded report that condemned the Nazis for “grave” abuses such as incinerating Jews, while also condemning the Allies for their equally “grave” abuses such as fire-bombing German and Japanese cities. The recommendation, no doubt, would have been that both sides be tried for war crimes, with Adolf Hitler in the dock alongside Franklin Roosevelt. Actually, that may be giving the UN more credit than it deserves. To judge by the evidence before us, the likelihood is that the UN in those days would have devoted far more space to Allied “abuses” than to those of the Axis and would have recommended that FDR stand alone before the world court.


The report’s findings on the actual Gaza conflict are no more convincing. It amounts to one-sided, after-the-fact second-guessing of difficult targeting decisions made in the heat of battle by Israeli soldiers. Goldstone & Co. are exercised about, inter alia,

the Israeli strikes against the Palestinian Legislative Council and the Gaza main prison. Both buildings were destroyed to an extent that puts them out of use. Statements by Israeli Government and armed forces representatives justified the attacks arguing that political and administrative institutions in Gaza are part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure.” The Mission rejects this position. It finds that there is no evidence that the Legislative Council building and the Gaza main prison made an effective contribution to military action. On the information available to it, the Mission finds that the attacks on these buildings constituted deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law whereby attacks must be strictly limited to military objectives.

Presumably during World War II, Goldstone would have found that Allied attacks on the Reichstag were also in violation of “humanitarian law” because that building also was primarily civilian in orientation.


There is no indication of how Israeli military commanders were to strike the balance demanded by the UN: to defend southern Israel from Palestinian rocket attacks while at the same time not inflicting any damage on any Palestinian person or building that was designated as “civilian.” That task is hard enough to accomplish in a war against a conventional combatant whose forces operate openly in uniforms; it is impossible to achieve against a terrorist group whose members deliberately do not wear uniforms (in violation of the laws of war!) in order to blend in with the civilian population.


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

That Forbes article that talks about how Jenin may have affected Israel's decision making makes a very interesting point I had not thought of, or seen anywhere else.

Thanks for pointing us to that one :)

At 10:22 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

As I've told Carl before, I thought Israel should have just carpet bombed Gaza the way Dresden was treated. Israel would have still been accused of the same war crimes but there would have been no Hamas terrorists left alive to add to the criticism heaped upon Israel.

The greatest service Goldstone has done Israel is to leave no enemy witnesses around in a future war. He has removed all incentive for Israeli military restraint since being nice is going to get the Jew the same short end of the stick as being nasty.

Try being nasty next time to Hamas!


At 10:49 PM, Blogger Captain.H said...

"It's a good thing that there was no United Nations in World War II."

If the UN had been around in WW2, running the Allied side, the Axis would have won the war. Seriously.

And ironically, one of the Axis's first post-war moves would have been to destroy the UN, just to ensure it couldn't be a possible future threat to the Axis powers.

If anyone doubts that, remember some history. The Japanese literally walked out on the League of Nations when they were finally seriously challenged on their brutal aggression against China. Likewise, Mussolini blew off the League n his brutal conquest of Ethiopia, when Hailee Selassie spoke to the League and attempted to get support against Italy. And we all know about Nazi Germany's total rejection of the Versailles Treaty under the League of Nations. Dictatorships aren't into the clueless liberal PC concept of "multilateral"; they're inherently brutally unilateral. But we learn from history that most people and nations don't learn from history.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Another reference for your link dump: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/goldstone-report-the-rebuttal.htm
We prepared quite thorough rebuttal


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