Fighting the Goldstone Report


In its most recent response to the Goldstone report, the Israeli government has catalogued the investigations being conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces:

“Of the 150 incidents, so far 36 have been referred for criminal investigation. To date, criminal investigators have taken evidence from almost 100 Palestinian complainants and witnesses, along with approximately 500 IDF soldiers and commanders. The Paper describes some of the challenges encountered in the conduct of the investigations, including accessing evidence from battlefield situations and the need to make arrangements, together with non-governmental organizations such as B’Tselem, to locate and interview Palestinian witnesses. To address these challenges, special investigative teams have been appointed and are currently investigation complaints arising from the Gaza Operation.”

Some charges being investigated derive from the Goldstone report. Others go beyond the report. The Israeli response explains the extensive investigatory mechanisms employed by Israel, several of which are completely independent of the military chain of command. It compares the Israeli investigatory mechanisms with those of other democratic nations, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

It then discloses the results of investigations regarding several of the charges made in the Goldstone report, proving by photographic and other evidence that they are unfounded or exaggerated. Of the 150 charges investigated, “36 criminal investigations [were] opened thus far.” The investigations are ongoing.

No other democratic country in the world, with comparably thorough investigative mechanisms, would be told that it had to do more—that a judicial investigation was also required. Neither the United States nor United Kingdom have been told that a judicial inquiry, beyond the investigations already underway, must be conducted. But the Goldstone report demands that Israel and Israel alone must go beyond its normal investigative mechanism and bring in outside judges. This reflects yet another double standard.

Nonetheless, it would be prudent for Israel to conduct a completely independent judicial review. Not that its results would ever satisfy the world’s numerous Israel-bashers. It ought to be conducted to satisfy Israel and supporters of Israel that no stone has been left unturned.

Such a review could include the issuance of subpoenas to soldiers, commanders and policy makers, as in a trial. Or it could be limited to traditional “judicial review” of the findings of military investigators, as in an appeal. That should be up to the Israeli government to decide.

Whatever type of review is decided upon, it will be real—as distinguished from the so-called “investigation” conducted by Hamas, which has already decided that those who fired rockets into Israel had no intention to kill Israeli civilians. Why then did they fire the rockets when children were on the way to school? Why did they fire them in the direction of cities and towns?

What will happen if Israel conducts a probing investigation and Hamas conducts a whitewash? According to the Goldstone report, that should result in referring Hamas, but not Israel, to the International Criminal Court and other tribunals. Will that happen? Don’t hold your breath.

The reality, which any truly independent investigation of Hamas and Israel would disclose, is that many of the civilians who were killed during Operation Cast Lead were, in fact, the victims of a deliberate and willful policy of killing Palestinian civilians in order to gain a non-military advantage. The real question is who killed these civilians and who should be held responsible for their deaths.

Any fair assessment of the evidence leads to the following conclusion: Hamas deliberately conducted its terrorist activities against Israel in a manner calculated by Hamas to produce Palestinian civilian deaths from Israeli weapons. Any fair assessment of the evidence also leads to the conclusion that, while Israel loses from the death of every Palestinian civilian, Hamas gains from every such death. As Golda Meir once put it: “We can perhaps forgive you for killing our children, but we can never forgive you for making us kill your children.”

The last thing Israel wants to do is kill innocent Palestinian civilians. But every democracy is obligated to protect its own civilians from rocket attacks. The truth is that Hamas deliberately fired rockets at Israeli civilians from densely populated civilian areas precisely to put Israel to a Hobson’s choice: either do nothing and allow Israeli civilians to be subject to indiscriminate rocket attacks; or attack those who are firing the rockets, thereby assuring that there will be some Palestinian civilian deaths. The Goldstone report inverted these conclusions because of the evidentiary bias it showed in evaluating the facts. It falsely blamed Israel rather than Hamas for the civilian deaths caused, both factually and morally, by the longstanding Hamas tactic.

It is a well-accepted principle of law, both domestic and international, that when a terrorist fires from a crowded area at innocent people, and the only way the police have of stopping the terrorist from endangering innocent lives is by shooting at him—if the policeman, despite his best efforts, shoots and kills innocent civilians, the terrorist is responsible for those deaths, not the policeman. Any fair assessment of the events in Gaza must begin with that principle—a principle totally ignored by the Goldstone report.

  • eerie Steve

    hmmmm. If I had control I would move the nation of Israel to California and turn the Middle East into a giant florence supermax so we can really give them a taste of the Great American Satan.

    Really, nothing can stop a Level 22 outside of the torture theory postulated by Mr. Dershowitz:

    LOL Alan. You are now outside of your ivory tower. Welcome to the real world.

    PR 10 !!! USA #1

  • William Smart

    Israel's investigations have always been laughable. Even when they've been forced to pay compensation for killing visitors and US sailors, almost nobody's ever been punished. Those who committed the massacres of Deir Yassin were rewarded, and the bodies buried under a car-park at Tantura still can't be dug up after 60 years. There's be outrage if the heirs of Nazis were doing this kind of thing.

    Meanwhile, Israeli newspapers are denying that in this case (where Israel is expected to pay compensation to the UN for the warehouse) it will have any effect on the career of the culprits. And Netanyahu tells us he wants International Law changed, so it's pretty pointless to tell us Goldstone was wrong and to claim it's not been breached.

  • William Smart

    Goldstone is a white-wash, it did not examine the "self-defence" argument and it did not describe the phosphorus shelling as a war-crime.

    HRW did call it a war-crime, however. HRW (formed in 1980 to help Soviet Jews escape) also said that Israel persistently used white phosphorus where no Israeli forces were present on the ground (ie it was being used as an incendiary weapon on not for cover), that the IDF "kept firing white phosphorus despite repeated warnings from U.N. personnel about the danger to civilians"; that Israel targeted the U.N.’s Beit Lahiya school and Al-Quds hospital "clearly marked and there does not appear to have been fighting in that immediate area."

    So when Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, Israeli military advocate general accuses Goldstone of extremism, beware. The Goldstone Report is the pussy-cat amongst them!

  • USMCSniper

    eerie steve provides us the comic relief with his humorous or farcical posts intended to relieve tension and have emotional impact by means of argrumentum ad absurbitum. He really is rather a silly fellow, isn't he!

  • lovezion

    Any Jews who are against Israel and, hence, against the rest of us Jews….should be killed without trial IF the arab muslims don't fry them before! Only filthy cowards can betray their own people in the glorious new country when this country is injured and already fallen to the ground! These creepy jews are very dangerous for with the arab muslim enemies at least we know where they stand, but with traitors, one never knows. Renegade traitors should be denied to seek refuge in Israel when (not "if" anymore) the next Holocaust will emerge arab muslim style!

    Of course, for the above deserved punishment, Israel is going to have to UNLEARN its liberal ways of forgiving terrorists whether arab muslims or renegade jews alike.

  • William Smart

    Go easy on Goldstone, guys, it's a white-wash compared with every other examination of Gaza. In fact, Goldstone is the only report that does not describe the phosphorus shelling as a war-crime. It was HRW (formed to get Jews out of Russia, remember?) which did that.

    And one must admire the messages out of Israel – first Barak said it was a grave error, then Olmert said it was direct fire aimed at terrorists, then it was legitimate use for concealment that accidentally ignited the warehouse. Now it was two officers to blame for ordering the attack without authority.

    Goldstone discusses the incident at paras. 543-595. He found at least three high explosive missiles and seven white phosphorous canisters hit the facility over a three-hour period. This while UN officials begged Israel to stop to no avail (pars. 579-584). Goldstone asks "The question then becomes how specialists expertly trained in the complex issue of artillery deployment and aware of the presence of an extremely sensitive site can strike that site ten times while apparently trying to avoid it" (para. 578).

    We could always shoot the messenger, that's easiest.

  • timeklek

    Most UN employees in Gaza are Arab-Palistinian.
    Many of those are Islamofascists…. and rockets
    were launched from close by, those UN facilities.
    ergo: you figure it out..