The Goldstone Report: Rewarding Palestinian Terror

BACKGROUND SUMMARY

The United Nations fact-finding mission examining Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza has been published. Headed by South African Judge Richard Goldstone, the mission’s 575-page report (PDF format) found that “Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity.”

Here, we provide an overview of some of the failings the Goldstone Report, including:

  • Israel did not deliberately target the civilian population of Gaza and, in fact, made efforts to prevent civilian casualties that no other army in the world would have done.
  • Contrary to the assertions of Goldstone, Hamas did use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
  • The Goldstone Report is not objective and is, in fact tainted by bias and politicization, both from the UN Human Rights Council and members of the mission itself.
  • The report relied upon the contributions of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations and unreliable Palestinian “eyewitnesses.”
  • Israel respects human rights and has a sophisticated legal and judicial system. Hamas does not. Yet the report has created an unjust equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization.

CLAIM: ISRAEL DELIBERATELY TARGETED PALESTINIAN CIVILIANS

THE FACTS:

  • The Goldstone Report states: “While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole…deeds by Israeli forces and words of military and political leaders prior to and during the operations indicate that as a whole they were premised on a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed not at the enemy but at the ‘supporting infrastructure.’ In practice, this appears to have meant the civilian population.”
  • So why did the IDF drop thousands of warning leaflets, make over 200,000 telephone warnings to Palestinian civilians, abort missile strikes to prevent civilian casualties, open a field clinic for Palestinians on the Gaza border, and transfer tons of humanitarian aid during the conflict?

CLAIM: THE REPORT FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF PALESTINIANS USING HUMAN SHIELDS

THE FACTS:

  • While Goldstone maintains that he could not find any evidence of the use of human shields by Hamas, even the terrorist organization admits it.

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW TO SEE VIDEO FOOTAGE OF AN ARMED HAMAS TERRORIST GRABBING AN INNOCENT YOUNG BOY OFF THE STREET TO USE AS A HUMAN SHIELD TO SAVE HIS OWN LIFE

CLAIM: THE GOLDSTONE REPORT IS OBJECTIVE AND UNTAINTED BY BIAS OR POLITICIZATION

THE FACTS:

  • It was clear that one out of the four members of the Goldstone Mission, Professor Christine Chinkin, had already made up her mind, having signed a letter before the conflict had even ended, clearly stating that Israel’s actions in Gaza amounted to “war crimes” and that Palestinian rocket attacks were not significant enough for Israel to exercise her right to self-defense.

  • The UN Human Rights Council includes states known for having questionable records with regards to human rights or a history of hostility towards Israel, including Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Pakistan, Bahrain, Mauritius and Qatar. The UNHRC has consistently discriminated against Israel and the mandate for the Goldstone Mission was no different.
  • The mandate was not supported by many le
    ading democratic members of the HRC the European Union, Japan, Canada and Switzerland all refused to back the resolution.
  • The mandate (HRC Resolution S-9/1) for the fact-finding mission  was “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression”  — already determining that Israel had committed “violations of international human rights law ” before the investigation even began.
  • Additionally, the Resolution determined that Israel caused ” massive violations of the human rights of the Palestinian people and systematic destruction of Palestinian infrastructure” while demanding that Israel “stop the targeting of civilians and medical facilities and staff and the systematic destruction of the cultural heritage of the Palestinian people, in addition to the destruction of  public and private properties.” This, too, before any investigation even took place.
  • As Melanie Phillips notes: “So this ‘objective’ inquiry had been told before it was even established that the guilty party in Gaza was Israel, designated by the UN as the ‘occupying power’; that it was guilty of ‘aggression’ and ‘violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law’; and that the Palestinians of Gaza were the victims of this Israeli aggression.”

CLAIM: THERE IS NO REASON TO DOUBT THE RELIABILITY OF “EYEWITNESSES” AND NGOs

THE FACTS:

  • Time and again, Palestinian “eyewitnesses” and non-governmental organizations have been proven to be unreliable, giving unverifiable evidence.
  • Judge Goldstone has a long association with Human Rights Watch, even serving on its board until removing himself when it was pointed out that remaining with HRW would be inappropriate. Yet he cites HRW sources in the Report, including material by the Nazi memorabilia collecting Marc Garlasco, who is currently suspended by HRW pending an investigation.
  • Some of the Palestinian witnesses heard by the mission were actually Hamas operatives directly involved in terrorism. One such witness, Mohammed Fuoad Abu Askar of Jebaliyeh, was actually a senior Hamas operative who used his house to store arms and ammunition, which lead to the IDF strike against the structure.
  • The case of Khaled and Kawthar Abed Rabbo, as outlined by CAMERA, offers ample evidence of unreliable witnesses. While the Goldstone committee “found Khalid and Kawthar Abd Rabbo to be credible and reliable witnesses [and] has no reason to doubt the veracity of the main elements of their testimony,” Khaled Abd Rabbo and his relatives have given more than a dozen different versions of what happened to them on Jan. 7, 2009.
  • In addition, as evidenced in the above case, Goldstone failed to take into account the loyalties of different Palestinian factions and the incentive for Fatah or Hamas members to blame Israeli soldiers for killings that were actually part of intra-Palestinian violence.

CLAIM: ISRAEL IS INCAPABLE OF HOLDING ITSELF TO ACCOUNT WITHIN A PROPER LEGAL FRAMEWORK

THE FACTS:

  • Goldstone refers to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists as “armed groups” while the IDF stands accused of targeting Gaza’s civilian population. The report has created an unjust equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization.
  • In addition, Goldstone calls for both Israelis and Palestinians to investigate alleged crimes. This despite the fact that Israel’s legal and judicial apparatus is fully equipped and motivated to address alleged violations of national or international law by its commanders and soldiers. Such allegations are reviewed through a multi-tiered system of independent and impartial proceedings before Israeli investigative, administrative and judicial authorities, including Israel’s highest judicial instance, the Israeli Supreme Court.
  • How can Goldstone imply that Hamas or the Palestinian Authority operates a legal system that comes close to anything resembling that of a western democracy?

Expect to see more of the Goldstone Report in the media over the coming days and weeks. This UN report based on the work of investigators who publicized their opinions before the investigation began and reliant on unreliable and tainted sources, delivered exactly what we expected: a drawn out condemnation of Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens against Hamas’s rockets.

In reality, it is the UN Human Rights Council that should be investigated for its complete failure to take action to protect the human rights of Israel’s citizens.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Read more about the Goldstone Report at this dedicated site – Understanding The Goldstone Report – as well as the resources below:

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