Fighting the Goldstone Report

Switzerland UN Gaza War Crimes

“There are three primary threats facing us today: the nuclear threat, the missile threat and what I call the Goldstone threat.”

So said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech last month to the Knesset. In bracketing the “Goldstone threat” with two military threats, at least one of them existential, Netanyahu was not exaggerating. The report of the Goldstone Commission, led by South African jurist Richard Goldstone under the auspices of the notoriously anti-Israeli UN Human Rights Commission, was published in September 2009 and accuses Israel of committing war crimes in its January 2009 military campaign against Hamas in Gaza. The report thereby hands a major propaganda victory to Hamas and vindicates the terrorists’ strategy of using whole populations as human shields.

Among the best rebuttals to the report that have been published are those by Trevor Norwitz, a New York lawyer, who called it “an abominable travesty of justice,” and a much briefer one by Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa, who called it “a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law.”

But the report’s grim impact continues. On the legal front, the UN General Assembly endorsed it in November (though democratic states either voted against or abstained), and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is set to refer it to the Security Council. On the terror front, the fact that Hezbollah is now storing weapons in 160 Shiite villages in southern Lebanon shows how effective the human-shield strategy has become, and how hamstrung Israel will be in future antiterrorist warfare, if it fails to overcome the Goldstone libel.

The New York Times reports this week that the Israeli army is now preparing its own rebuttal to the report, and that “its central aim is to dispel the report’s harsh conclusion—that the death of noncombatants and destruction of civilian infrastructure were part of an official plan to terrorize the Palestinian population.” Although the rebuttal, which is soon to be submitted to UN officials, is supposed to be under wraps until then, correspondent Ethan Bronner quotes some statements by “officers involved in writing the report.”

One concerns a flour mill that, according to the Goldstone Report, “was hit by an airstrike, possibly by an F-16…for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population.” But “the Israeli investigators say they have photographic proof that this is false, that the mill was accidentally hit by artillery in the course of a firefight with Hamas militiamen.”

Then there was a wastewater plant that, in the Goldstone Report’s telling, Israel subjected to a missile strike that was “deliberate and premeditated,” causing an inundation of raw sewage. Contrary to that charge, “the Israelis say they had nothing to do with that plant’s collapse and suggest that it may have been the result of Hamas explosives.”

More broadly, the Goldstone document states that Israel conducted “a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population….” Israel’s military advocate general, Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, told Bronner that “I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League…. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It’s a vicious lie.”

Many things made the Goldstone Report possible: the UN’s Muslim/Third World majority that produces grotesque bodies like the Human Rights Commission (which sponsored the report); Goldstone’s own blindness or—since blindness is hard to believe as an explanation—cynical opportunism; and of course, decades of Western mainstream-media portrayals of Israel as an aggressor and Palestinians as victims.

On the plus side, the United States and other democracies have at least quietly supported Israel in resisting the report—which, they realize, is a victory for terror—and its implications. Israel’s chances of successfully making its case are not hopeless, but it will have to work hard.

  • Rifleman

    So, what's the UN going to do about it? Nothing but talk, like they always do. If they try sanctions, we already know several times over they can easily be bought off.

  • Billsocal

    Where is Goldstone Report on Hamas digging up Christian graves in Gaza because they said the Christian dead bodies are spoiling the ground. It amazing what the Muslims are able to get away with in the mainstream media and the World Elite. They forget that the Muslims supported Nazi German in WWII.0……………..

  • punch bag

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  • stefan

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  • coyote3

    Not in my interests to do that.

  • Rifleman

    I guess we're just smarter than the rest of the world. it's not the first time, and probably won't be the last. No doubt if the whole world lined up to jump off a cliff you'd be right there with them, going baaa baaa all the way down.

    I don't fall for taqaya or human shields, the blame lies with the terrorists, and people like you, for falling for, and disseminating their propaganda.

  • coyote3

    Well, the relations with Israel have been what they are, since Israel's beginning, so one could argue that this is the "normalized."

    As far as human rights organizations go, what makes them any better, or any less biased than any other organization. Nations do what nations do in what they believe is there own best interests. The human rights organizations are not necessarily any more or less agenda driven.

    As far as human shields and/or hostages are concerned, the only reason they are used is in the hope that the other side will take some steps of extra restraint in taking them into account. If no special considerations were made, then part of the incentive to use them is gone. There is still the issue of outside opinion, but when you are fighting a war, you are fighting to win, not please the world.

  • Rifleman

    Jumping off a cliff because everyone else is doing it is the manifestation a herd mentality which I don’t share, whether it’s peaceful makes no difference to the point.

    It doesn’t matter if all those Arab nations are involved in taqaya or not, hamas and hezz are tentacles of the mad mullahs, whose determination and intentions are clear. “Everyone,” isn’t ready for coexistence with peace when hezz and hamas aren’t even pretending they are.

    Who needs a grand conspiracy, when common interests or gullibility will yield the same results? “Everyone,” obviously doesn’t see the same thing, or some of us wouldn’t be disagreeing.

    What it means when I say I don’t fall for human shields, is the deaths of civilians used as human shields, voluntarily or not, are the moral and legal responsibility of those who employ them. One can’t lament the civilian death toll without condemning the arab use of human shields and expect me to take them seriously.

  • Rifleman

    I’m saying some of them are practicing taqaya, and like every other time the ones that aren’t can’t or won’t hinder those that are. I’m also saying two of the main belligerents aren’t on board with the proposed agreement.

    What happened before the Nuremburg trials? The allies responded to Axis terror with terror. We leveled their cities and destroyed their ability and will to fight, accepting nothing less than unconditional surrender. Then we tried the guilty for their crimes in a military tribunal.

    Nothing can be ‘wrong’ when hamas/hezz/fatah neither recognize nor adhere to the laws of war or the Geneva conventions. That (the consequences of not following them), not you, the UN, or “the world” MIGHT disapprove, is why they are followed or not. The ‘palestinians’ have been committing war crimes all my life, and neither you, the arab league (lol, right), nor the UN has stopped them, so if they ever are, it’ll obviously have to be the IDF that does it.

  • Rifleman

    I’ve come to realize the restraint the IDF shows is misguided and only encourages the other side to continue violating the laws of war as policy. They might as well have handled it like the arabs themselves do, by killing 20,000 ‘palestinians’ in one afternoon with an indiscriminant rolling artillery barrage across the town they’re taking refuge in. They didn’t give King Hussein or Jordan much trouble after that.

    Do you really equate the WP we’ve (USA) been using legally for over 50 years with the Sarin Saddam used on the Kurds? That’s ridiculous. The IDF was using arty delivered WP to suppress rocket or mortar fire coming from the courtyard of an apartment building in the use of it I saw. The alternative was HE or beehive rounds, which would have killed far more people, and you’d still be whining about that, not the arabs firing from the courtyard of an apartment building.

  • Rifleman

    What's the peaceful alternative to getting your civilians shelled and your soldiers snatched in their own country? Conspicuously absent from your international consensus is hamas and hezz, what part of THEY REFUSE YOUR PEACE OFFER don't you understand? Let's see you get them to try peace.

    Your question has nothing to do with WP. Saddam deliberately targeted civilians with SARIN (WMD), not WP (NOT WMD), and there were no military targets in those villages saddam gassed, he was flat out committing genocide. Israel used WP, which is not a WMD, and I'll repeat is far less lethal than HE or flechettes . Sarin causes your blood to clot in your veins, WP is hot smoke. They aren't easy to confuse, and this makes the second time I've had to explain it, so you must be trying real hard to confuse them.

    The peace loving 'palestinians' took over a town and killed some of King Hussein's civilians, troops, and police. The PLO set up ambushes and booby traps (just like they did in Jenin and scores of other places) and waited for the King's Army. King Hussein's arty crews aren't as good as the Israelis, and he had no precision weapons, so he would have lost a lot of brave men trying to retake that town. The PLO were military targets, illegal combatants, using his civilians as human shields, so he was under no obligation to sacrifice his men in a death trap. Yes, he did the right thing, and the PLO is to blame for every man, woman, and child that died there. Who do you blame?

    You claim to oppose terror, yet you completely ignore it from one side. You confuse my acceptance of just response to terrorism with support of terrorism. Can you even define terrorism?

  • Rifleman

    I believe the proper response to violence is overwhelming violence, only then will others use it as a last resort.

    Fatah is wavering, hamas and hezz do whatever the mad mullahs running Iran tell them to, and they aren't wavering on anything regarding the destruction of Israel. You seem to forget, hamas won the PA election on a platform of no peace with Israel. The PLO (fatah) rejected clinton's peace deal after stringing him and the Israeli's along as far as they could, arafat walked away, not the Israelis. Fatah was pretty much wiped out in gaza by hamas, in part because they flirted too much about making peace with Israel, but they retain some of their power in the West Bank.

    Oh but you have defended the use of human shields, by your complete omission of their use, and blaming the IDF for their subsequent deaths. We're not talking about 'palestinian' “imperfections” (that's a good one, were you laughing when you typed it?), we're talking about fatal flaws in your “peace settlement,” and your thinking.

    Doing something because “everyone” is doing it is stupid, and it's not an argument to anyone with any sense. Apparently it's not cliché enough, because it went right over your head.

  • Rifleman

    Nope, I disapprove of terror as strongly as a person can, that's why I disapprove of so little in response to it. Only when the price of adopting the tactic outweighs any possible benefit, will it not be be used. When you accept 'palestinian' terror, you defend and advance it. You also guarantee its' future use.

    If Israel ever responds with terror you'll know, because there won't be thousands, or scores of thousands of dead, but hundreds of thousands or millions of dead, and they'll be justified many times over in doing it. It's obvious the IDF, like the US Military, are going to great additional risk and expense to spare civilians. If they did respond in kind, the same thing would stop Israel that stopped the USA in WWII, and ever since. Unlike our common enemy, we abhor it.

  • oroscopo 2012

    I guess we're just smarter than the rest of the world. it's not the first time, and probably won't be the last. No doubt if the whole world lined up to jump off a cliff you'd be right there with them, going baaa baaa all the way down.

    I don't fall for taqaya or human shields, the blame lies with the terrorists, and people like you, for falling for, and disseminating their propaganda.