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As President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas now assemble to try to make peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the 600 pound gorilla in the room will be Richard Goldstone. Although he was not invited to the meetings, his presence will be felt. It will send the following message to the Israeli government: If you end your military occupation of the West Bank, and the Palestinians use their new territory to launch rockets and other attacks against Israel, you will not be able to defend yourself, without Goldstone and the colleagues condemning you for taking actions in self defense.
This is a realistic threat, as evidenced by what happened after Israel ended its military occupation of the Gaza Strip. Hamas took over by military force and used the newly liberated lands not to build a civil society but to attack Israel. They fired nearly 1,000 rockets at Israeli civilians and made life impossible for nearly a million Israelis living in the south of Israel. After enduring these rockets for years, and futily seeking help from the international community, the Israelis did what any democracy would do: they defended their civilians against the war crimes being perpetrated by Hamas. But Hamas poses a difficult military target since it deliberately hides its fighters among civilians and fires its rockets from schoolyards, hospitals and mosques. Considering these difficulties, Israel did a commendable job at stopping most of the rockets while minimizing civilian casualties. As Former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp said:
“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when an army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”
Nonetheless, Richard Goldstone issued a blood libel against Israel, accusing its leaders of deliberately setting out to maximize civilian deaths. It also exculpated Hamas from the war crime of using civilians as human shields. The Palestinian Authority–yes the Palestinian Authority, not Hamas–filed formal charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court. This, despite the fact that President Abbas and his subordinates urged Israel to be even more aggressive against Hamas in Gaza so that the Palestinian Authority could regain its lawful power. Enemies of Israel throughout the world have used the notorious Goldstone report in an effort to delegitimize the Jewish state.
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