As I foretold yesterday, Goldstone’s retraction is being dissed by the usual suspects.
Senior Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Shaath on Sunday said that Judge Richard Goldstone apparently succumbed to pressure because he could not longer bear the terror directed against him, apparently referring to the way Goldstone was ostracized by his native South African and other world Jewish communities.
Fatah has an interesting and surprisingly broad view of the definition of ‘terror’ considering its unending blood libels, antisemitic smears and glorification of terrorist ‘martyrs’ (read murderers).
Surely Goldstone would have made the world aware of the ‘terror’ against him. What a pathetic response by Shaath.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a PLO Executive, said (same article):
“There was a war crime,” he said, adding that Goldstone has no right to retract a report based on documents that were examined by the parties and subject to specific criteria, not on a personal whim.
In other words, Goldstone’s clear realisation that two years of Israeli investigation and evidence as opposed to complete silence from Hamas amounts to ‘whim’. Who are ‘the parties’ and what are the ‘criteria’ of which he speaks? Goldstone has every right to redress a wrong which he has previously signed up to. Just by stating he has no right doesn’t make it so unless you live in the Looking-Glass world of Palestinian politics.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri on Saturday dismissed Judge Richard Goldstone’s “regrets,” saying that “his retreat does not change the fact war crimes had been committed against 1.5 million people in Gaza,” and claimed that the group cooperated fully with the fact finding mission.
So the 1400 has now become 1.5 million. Hamas’ inflated language and posturing is in the face of Goldstone’s prior and continuing claims of war crimes by Hamas against, shall we say, 7 million Israelis. Their lack of a credible response to the original report’s findings are completely ignored in favour of the usual sloganising.
So it seems that the original findings are the ones that the Palestinians and all the other Israel-haters will accept because it is rather inconvenient to accept any retraction. The ‘war crimes’ stand, even though the person who made the claim has now retracted his conclusions.
I don’t see how they can maintain this stance if the UNHRC now throws out the report. But as the UNHRC is loaded with countries who are somewhat antipathetic towards Israel, there could be an interesting few months ahead.
The PCHR is also at it, as reported by walla.co.il (translation)
Raji Sourani, chairman of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said this morning (Sunday) the regret expressed by Judge Richard Goldstone on the report written about the recent war in Gaza is, “an expression of personal opinion and will not affect the dialog”.
He claims that Goldstone was in the past two years “faced a psychological war waged by Jewish and Israeli organizations to press him to change his position.” He added that Goldstone should not retract his report because it “would ruin his reputation”.
So it’s those pesky Zionists again. No-one, it appears, is big enough to accept Goldstone’s retraction if they hate Israel.
Pretty predictable really.
Last week I accused the UNHRC of double-standards for not calling for an enquiry into Gadaffi’s attack on his own citizens.
Today, at last, they have listened to me.
See the UN News centre report here.
The United Nations Human Rights Council today strongly condemned the recent violence in Libya and ordered an international inquiry into alleged abuses, while also recommending that the country’s membership in the UN’s top human rights body be suspended.
I’m sure Judge Richard Goldstone is packing his bags for Tripoli as I write. He can be joined by Hosni Mubarak who needs the work.
The question here is not why Libya has been suspended from the UNHRC but why it was ever elected.
The UNHRC seems to have been embarrassed into this as 2000 people at least have been killed and the vast majority of these are civilians. If Israel is condemned for disproportionate behaviour when1300 are killed, mostly combatants, then the UNHRC has to act to protect its ability to continue with its obsession with Israel in the future by showing it can still spot a despot when it sees one – eventually.
Gadaffi is so bad that even other despots in the region have disowned him.
You could say that Gadaffi is giving despots, tyrants and dictators a bad name. Some achievement.
The media, having long ago agreed to everything in the Goldstone report, has no interest in the accidental revelations which refute its conclusions.
Camera.org recently published news that none other than Hamas itself has revealed an important statistic, previously denied or simply lied about, which shows that Goldstone was a gullible sap who was fed lies from dubious sources and reached conclusions which were foregone before he even started his one-sided investigation.
Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Hamad’s admission that Hamas and affiliated militias lost 600-700 fighters in the Israeli “Cast Lead” military operation undermines the central accusation of the Goldstone Report that the Israeli operation was “premised on a deliberate policy of disproportionate force aimed … [at] the civilian population.” The public, however, is unlikely to know this, because Hamad’s remarks have been largely ignored by major news organizations, like the New York Times and the BBC.
Hamad’s comments were made in an interview published in the London Arabic daily Al Hayat on Nov. 1, 2010 and reported by Agence France Presse, the Jerusalem Post and others. In the interview, he stated that
On the first day of the war, Israel targeted police stations and 250 martyrs who were part of Hamas and the various factions fell.” He added that, “about 200 to 300 were killed from the Qassam Brigades, as well as 150 security personnel.”
Hamad’s figures closely match the Israeli estimate of 709 combatant fatalities and indicate that combatants comprised around half of the Palestinian fatalities in the time period of Dec. 27, 2008 through Jan. 18, 2009, far more than the 17 percent claimed by Palestinian groups. The increased ratio of combatants to non-combatants is inconsistent with Goldstone’s most serious charge that Israeli forces systematically targeted civilians.
The importance of the last sentence cannot be underestimated. The accusation of deliberately targeting civilians was the direct opposite of the truth, as Col Richard Kemp told the UN Human Rights Council last year http://www.raymondcook.net/blog/index.php/2009/10/19/colonel-richard-kemp-and-the-truth-about-operation-cast-lead
In the rush to judgement, or directly to condemnation, the picture of Israel as a bloodthirsty, murderous regime, which its enemies are so keen to promote, was given validation by Goldstone.
Considering the conditions in Gaza – the use of public buildings, the network of residential homes used and the firing from or near UN buildings – the ratio of combatants to civilians killed is low and completely disproves the demonising conclusion of Goldstone.
Brilliant speech by Trevor S. Norwitz reported on UN Watch.
It completely demolishes the absurdity of the UNHRC, the Goldstone Report, the so-called Flotilla Inquiry and the abuse of laws designed to protect democracies from the very people that are now using those same laws to attack those democracies.
This is highlighted on the sane website here: “Cuba Organizing Rogue Speakers’ List of Hardliners in Bid to Ambush U.S. at Friday’s U.N. Review”, where an alliance of the far Left dictators and Venezuela are attempting to dominate the UN Review in order to attack the US.
The US is not and should not be immune from criticism, but unlike most of the countries doing the hatchet job on the US’s reputation, the US is a democracy with a strong record on self-examination and self-criticism and responding, sometimes tardily, to misdemeanours of its armed forces. It is, therefore, monstrous, that Iran and Cuba can point an accusing finger at the US when their record on human rights, especially Iran’s, is abysmal.
It appears that the UN and its instruments are now an international union of nations inimical to democracy and peace who use the organs of the UN to spout lies and hypocrisy.
Is it not about time the UN took more robust action and limited its councils to true democracies rather than than allowing them to become propaganda weapons for serial human rights abusers?
The Norwitz speech is as strong a condemnation of the Flotilla Inquiry farce as I have seen.
Here’s a flavour of the speech:
Almost anything created for a good purpose can be abused or even “weaponized”: think of an ice-pick, a candlestick, a box-cutter knife, an airplane, a shoe, a pair of underpants.
And not just physical objects. We have seen the abuse of almost every institution invented by man: democracy (think of Venezuela, Iran, the Weimar Republic); education (look at Gaza under Hamas or the PLO, Apartheid South Africa); religion (no examples needed).
It should be no surprise then that the law – one of humanity’s greatest achievements, designed for the creation of ordered societies, the establishment and maintenance of justice and the determination and protection of truth – is also susceptible to abuse.
Today what is really under attack is perhaps the most fundamental value in our Western culture: truth. And it is ironic in the extreme that it is the law, which was created and designed to be the servant and protector of truth, that is the enemy’s weapon of choice to undermine the truth.
I strongly recommend you read it all.
During and after Operation Cast Lead the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was vilified for ‘war crimes’ and the notorious Goldstone Report which concluded that Israel had a deliberate policy to kill civilians and destroy property has become a major vehicle for attacks on Israel.
Israel always maintained that in war mistakes are made but it was never its policy to target civilians. The IDF has conducted and continues to conduct its own investigations and has rebutted many of the specific accusations in the report.
As is the nature of attacks on Israel, the mud always sticks and anything ranging from truth to downright lies will pass as truth as long as it carries a negative image of the State of Israel with which its enemies can beat it.
Now there is an ironic echo of how Israel characterised its campaign in December 2008 to January 2009 and how NATO is conducting its ‘surge’, Operation Moshtarak, against the Taliban. There is an uncanny similarity in the language and also the situations that NATO has confronted.
Let’s draw one important distinction between Cast Lead and Moshtarak; Gaza is a heavily populated, built-up, narrow strip of land which is very difficult terrain in which to carry out a military campaign; Helmand is open country with relatively sparsely populated villages and towns.
Both Israel and NATO have stated that they have no argument with civilians. Israel went to extraordinary lengths to warn civilians of impending strikes by leafleting, mobile phone calls and even dropping special munitions on houses which sounded as if they were explosive devices but were only designed to warn those inside to get out.
NATO are fighting an extremist Islamist group who have repeatedly targeted NATO forces with IED’s; Hamas was rocketing Israeli civilians for several years sending over thousands of rockets into southern Israel.
No NATO country is directly threatened by the Taliban; Israel is not only directly threatened but Hamas have stated in their own charter that their goal is to destroy Israel and kill Jews.
Yet look at the different way the world’s press and especially the UN responds and reacts to operation Moshtarak:
the BBC reports :
Taliban militants are increasingly using civilians as “human shields” as they battle against a joint Afghan-Nato offensive, an Afghan general has said.
Gen Mohiudin Ghori said his soldiers had seen Taliban fighters placing women and children on the roofs of buildings and firing from behind them….
It is difficult for the Afghan army and Nato to storm Taliban-held areas because to do so may inflict heavy civilian casualties and there are still a lot of civilians in Marjah.
“Whenever they launch an attack, the Taliban take refuge in civilians’ homes.
Now isn’t that exactly what the IDF claimed Hamas were doing in Gaza and Goldstone found no evidence of this, or more specifically Fact-finding mission member Colonel Travers could find no evidence?
And then this in the same report:
US Marines fighting to take the Taliban haven of Marjah have had to call in air support as they come under heavy fire.
They have faced sustained machine-gun fire from fighters hiding in bunkers and in buildings including homes and mosques.
Now hang on, this is what the Israelis said Hamas were doing but not only did Hamas deny it but Goldstone again found little evidence and our friend Travers could find no evidence of mosques being used despite Israeli videos which conclusively proved the opposite and also an important independent witness Col. Tim Collins.
And then there was the incident where NATO said twelve civilians had been killed by a missile that had malfunctioned only later to correct this by saying that the intended target was hit but thy didn’t realise civilians were in the building.
Gen Carter confirmed on Tuesday a missile that struck a house outside Marjah on Sunday killing 12 people, including six children, had hit its intended target.
Gen Carter said the rocket had not malfunctioned and the US system responsible for firing it was back in use. Officials say three Taliban, as well as civilians, were in the house but the Nato soldiers did not know the civilians were there.
Initial Nato reports said the missile had landed about 300m (984ft) off its intended target. Gen Carter blamed these “conflicting” reports on “the fog of war”.
Now I urge you to cast your mind back to Operation Cast Lead where Israel was saying very similar things and the result was a UNHRC investigation, war crimes accusations and a threat that figures in the IDF and government would become international criminals – indeed some have already decided this is the case.
So where are the calls from the UNHCR now? How soon will Judge Goldstone regather is little band of men and women and go straight to the Taliban and ask then if they committed any war crimes (answer will be ‘No’) and give evidence of the many crimes of NATO. Will he then come up with a 500 page report recommending senior NATO commanders and politicians in NATO countries be taken to The Hague on charges of war crimes? Will Brown and Miliband, Obama and Clinton, Sarkozy and the rest be hauled before a tribunal? Will the US, UK and other NATO countries become international pariahs? And look at the difference: they were fighting far from home an enemy they claim is a threat to their national security. Did any UN body ever dispute this? Israel was fighting an enemy on its doorstep that was killing its civilians and targeting them on a daily basis for years and years before it took any action.
Now I know what you are thinking: in Gaza hundreds of civilians were killed; what about white phosphorus, white flags etc. Now just compare the terrains in Gaza and Afghanistan as I have already pointed out.
Israel has admitted mistakes; it may be that its interpretation of international law in respect of some of its actions differs from others; it may be that some of its soldiers acted disgracefully writing graffiti and trashing property. They should be disciplined. Are these war crimes? If so NATO is certainly guilty. And what about the Iraqi who was beaten up by British soldiers and died of his injuries? Is that not a war crime? Where is the UN on that? Where is the UN on Abu Ghraib? Where is the UN on Guantanamo Bay? Will the UN regard the Taliban as a legitimate military in the same way Goldstone and the UN regard Hamas?
What’s the difference?
I’ll tell you in case you didn’t already guess: Israel. Always Israel. They are not considered to be capable of regulating or examining their own conduct like the US or the UK or any European country or any great power such as China or Russia. Where are the resolutions on Chechnya? South Ossetia? Where Tibet?
The UN acts like a bully; pushing around small countries, especially Israel is fine but the big boys are exempt.
The UN is no longer fit for purpose because it is run supposedly along democratic lines but is numerically dominated by countries which are not. This same bunch of tyrants and dictators have a natural antipathy to Israel, not least that most of them are Muslim states. This means that whenever Israel tries to defend itself it will always be vilified and demonized. America can kill hundreds of thousands of Muslims. Sunnis can kill tens of thousands of Shia and vice versa. They can attack the others’ holy shrines and you just hear the odd ‘tut tut’. All Hamas have to do is show a dead baby and the entire world is calling for Israel’s destruction.
Isn’t that called anti-Semitism? Used to be. Doesn’t get Israel off the hook for real crimes or human rights violations but if there is never any differentiation or fairness with regard Israel’s actions then any genuine criticism which every country should be subject to, will be dismissed as vilification. If genuine criminals like Mugabe or Bashir are not pursued with the same vigour as legitimate Israeli politicians, if George W Bush and Tony Blair aren’t guilty but Tzipi Livni is then where is the justice? Think extraordinary rendition. Think torture. So why is Israel always the bogeyman?
The irredeemably flawed Goldstone Report, which was produced at the behest of UN Human Rights Council, came to the conclusion that both Israel and Hamas probably committed war crimes during Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip between December 2008 and January 2009.
Both Israel and Hamas were charged with responding to the allegations in the report and conducting their own investigations into it to be presented to the UN Security Council.
The very idea of asking an organisation such has Hamas (which not only brutally represses its own people and murders its political opponents, but is also intent on the genocide of the Jewish people and the destruction of Israel as is written into its own charter and its many public broadcasts), to present a response to the UN is as mind-boggling as it would be for the UN to ask the Taliban to present a report on its actions in Afghanistan.
Whereas Hamas boasts of its war crimes and comes up with a ludicrous response to the UN, Israel, at least, has spent thousands of hours, conducted hundreds of interviews, brought dozens of indictments against its own soldiers and is still in the process of producing a 1000 page response to the Goldstone report.
This is what Hamas has to say, as reported by Ha’aretz, and so condemns itself from its own mouth:
The Hamas report will be submitted to the UN later this week, said the official, Mohammed al-Ghoul. Its argument is that rockets fired from Gaza were meant to hit military targets, but because they are unguided, they hit civilians by mistake. (My emphasis)
Anyone with even a minimal smattering of law and logic can see not only the contradictions in this last statement but must also see that this lie is so patent and so crass that were Mr al-Ghoul (and what an appropriate name that is!) a wooden puppet his nose would stretch from Gaza City to al Quds!
IT IS A WAR CRIME TO FIRE MUNITIONS WHICH CANNOT BE GUIDED TOWARDS AREAS OF POPULATION. PERIOD.
And if they are unguided, how can they possibly be meant to hit military targets!? This is the organisation and these are the people who are being legitimised by the UN just by treating them on an equal footing with a member of the UN. This is moral equivalence of the most pernicious and degrading kind. But Ban says, according to the Jerusalem Post,
he was uncertain whether Israel or the Palestinians had met UN demands to undertake “credible” investigations into allegations that they deliberately targeted civilians during last year’s Gaza offensive….
He said he hoped the assembly’s resolution will, in fact, result in probes “that are independent, credible and in conformity with international standards.”
But, he added that “no determination can be made on the implementation of the resolution by the parties concerned.
Eh? He may be uncertain about Israel but he must surely be god-damned bloody positive that Hamas targeted civilians because, apart from the overwhelming evidence AND their ongoing operations (e.g. barrel bombs along Israel’s coastline this week), THEY ADMITTED IT AND BOAST ABOUT IT. What the hell does he mean ‘he’s uncertain’? He’ll be wanting an investigation into Copernican heliocentricity soon.
The Ha’aretz article quotes al Ghoul as saying:
Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly confirmed that they abide by international humanitarian law, through broadcasting in different media that they intended to hit military targets and to avoid targeting civilians,” the Hamas report stated, citing casualties from “incorrect (or imprecise) fire.
What planet, indeed, what specie are these people from? The only media broadcasts I know about are vicious, Jew-hating, genocidal, blood-libelling filth.
This is what Israel has done according to the Jerusalem Post:
Israel released a 46-page paper last Friday documenting the steps it had taken to investigate IDF actions during Operation Cast Lead, stressing that its military judicial system was independent and came under civilian review, and dismissing four of the 36 allegations of war crimes found in the Goldstone Report.
The document also revealed that disciplinary action had been taken against two top officers – a brigadier-general and a colonel – for permitting artillery fire near a UN compound in a neighborhood in Gaza City…
The IDF, meanwhile, is continuing preparation of an in-depth, point-by-point rebuttal of the Goldstone report, which is expected to number over 1,000 pages and be ready within a number of weeks.
A subtly different response to Hamas.
It is true that Israel neither co-operated with the Fact Finding Mission led by Goldstone nor does it appear to be intending to have an independent judicial enquiry. Ban appears to be saying that such an enquiry may not be necessary because he has not dismissed the Israeli army enquiry as being an inadequate response; all he says is that response is incomplete, which is self-evident since they have not yet delivered the 1000 page document. Hamas’s report is incomplete because it is a risible heap of bovine excrement and the Palestinian Authority which decided it should have a report to (it can’t let its rival Hamas have all the glory) only began at the end of January!
It’s not the credibility of Israel that’s is being highlighted here but the credibility of the UN itself and its ridiculous playing out of the farce of a ‘credible’ report from Hamas and giving them the respectability of playing out that farce as if they were a responsible national entity and not a bunch of murderous genocides intent on spreading their obnoxious, pathological hatred of Jews.
Ban ki-moon? Ban ki-rupt more likely.
Now that the United Nations Human Rights Council has voted to send the Goldstone report to the UN General Assembly, the head of the fact-finding team that produced the report, Richard Goldstone, is back-pedalling.
Goldstone has been exposed in all his naivety. Just like a ghetto Jew policeman, collaborating with his people’s murderers, Goldstone accepted the role of heading the fact-finding mission. And no sooner than the report is presented to the UNHRC, the resolution recommending it to the UN General Asembly becomes doctored to exclude any mention of Hamas and to include extraneous materials attacking Israel which were not part of the original brief.
And Goldstone, like a naive Jew collaborator never saw it coming. The revered jurist, the impartial investigator who produced a report so one-sided as to be obscene. Now he is widely reported as being “saddened” by the resolution as jta.org reports, Goldstone went on to say “”There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report”
Well that’s naive and disingenuous, isn’t it? Even in the report the condemnation of Hamas was a mere after-thought thrown in, probably at Goldstone’s embarrassed insistence, as a fig-leaf to cover a deeply nasty biased and dangerous report.
So Goldstone finds himself surprised at being the patsy of the anti-Israel league.
You see the resolution of the UNHRC does not mention Hamas AT ALL! Surprise, surprise. The murdering, lying terrorist abomination that calls itself Hamas and who committed every war crime and broke every rule of war, the Geneva convention, customary law and human decency get off scot free whilst Israel is now called a war criminal and its pariah status no doubt enhanced. Meanwhile other countries for whom no investigation and no resolution will ever see the light of day (Russia in Chechnya and South Ossetia, China in Tibet, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and probably Pakistan) laugh on the sidelines or actively participate in condemning Israel.
This moral inversion, this moral blindness towards Israel and Israel alone is the real crime.
And the UNHRC resolution did not stop at the Goldstone Report. Here’s the extraneous stuff
Reaffirming the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and the inadmissibility of the acquisition of land by the use of force, as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations
So what’s that got to do with the Gaza conflict?
Affirming the applicability of international human rights law and the international humanitarian law, namely the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,
That’s OK until ‘to the Occupied Palestinian Territory..’ bit. This has nothing to do with Gaza but a lot to do with final status negotiations. Clearly those sponsoring the resolution have already decided that East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian Territory even though there is and never has been a Palestinian state. Indeed, the resolution’s title is:
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN PALESTINE AND OTHER OCCUPIED ARAB TERRITORIES.
Do they mean Iraq? Probably the Golan Heights and Gaza which the UN is determined to call ‘occupied’ even though Israel abandoned it and withdrew all its troops several years ago. It was that very withdrawal which led to Gaza being taken over by Hamas and other terrorist groups who used the Gaza Strip to launch thousands of rockets against Israeli towns and cities and whose actions precipitated the conflict.
Only the naive and the blind could say that the text of the resolution includes Hamas by implication.
So like the ghetto policeman, Goldstone, a man of impeccable credentials, has sold his soul. But not because of self-serving, but because he has failed to spot the trap. He has failed to see how many lies and distortions Israel’s enemies are prepared to use against it. He has failed to expose the lies of Hamas, the lies of the Palestinian Authority and the moral inversion of the bleeding-heart human rights lobby for whom the narrative is simple: Israel is the aggressor and Palestinians the victim. End of.