Goldstone found that Israel’s collective punishment policy in Lebanon served as a model for Gaza

on 63 Comments
The aftermath of Israel’s ‘Dahiya doctrine’ in Beirut, 2006.

As Israel prepares its response to the Goldstone Report, several articles indicate that its primary objective is to discredit the contention that it carried out, in the words of Ethan Bronner, "an official plan to terrorize the Palestinian population." Today Haaretz reports that Israel’s response to the UN will seek to "reject most of the fundamental claims of the Goldstone report: it intentionally waged a punitive campaign against a civilian population, including the destruction of infrastructure." 

This promises to be one of the most contentious debates over the report in the coming months, and as part of our effort to post portions of the Goldstone Report there are several relevant portions we want to share. The excerpt below outlines Israel’s possible strategy and intention for the Gaza attack based on prior history and statements from Israeli military and political leaders. Because Israel refused to participate with the inquiry there was no way to interview them directly about this.  

The following passage is found of pages 250-258 of the report. I have removed the footnotes from the text, but you can find them in the original.

Objectives and Strategy of Israel’s Military Operations in Gaza

This chapter addresses the objectives and the strategy underlying the Israeli military operations in Gaza.

A. Planning

The question of whether incidents involving the Israeli armed forces that occurred between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009 are likely to be the result of error, the activities of rogue elements or a deliberate policy or planning depends on a number of factors, including the degree and level of planning involved, the degree of discretion field commanders have in operations, the technical sophistication and specification of weaponry, and the degree of control commanders have over their subordinates.

The Government of Israel has refused to cooperate with the Mission. The Mission has therefore been unable to interview high-level members of the Israeli armed forces. It has, nevertheless, reviewed a significant amount of commentary and conducted a number of interviews on planning and discipline, including with persons who have been connected with the planning of Israeli military operations in the recent past. The Mission has also analysed the views expressed by Israeli officials in official statements, official activities and articles, and considered comments by former senior soldiers and politicians.

1. The context

Before considering the issue of planning there is an important issue that has to be borne in mind about the context of Israeli operations in Gaza. The land mass of Gaza covers 360 square kilometres of land. Israel had a physical presence on the ground for almost 40 years with a significant military force until 2005. Israel’s extensive and intimate knowledge of the realities of Gaza present a considerable advantage in terms of planning military operations. The Mission has seen grid maps in possession of the Israeli armed forces, for example, that show the identification by number of blocks of houses throughout Gaza City.

In addition to such detailed background knowledge, it is also clear that the Israeli armed forces were able to access the telephone networks to contact a significant number of users in the course of their operations.

Since the departure of its ground forces from Gaza in 2005, Israel has maintained almost total control over land access and total control over air and sea access. This has also included the ability to maintain a monitoring capacity in Gaza, by a variety of surveillance and electronic means, including UAVs. In short, Israel’s intelligence gathering capacity in Gaza since its ground forces withdrew has remained extremely effective.

2. Legal input and training of soldiers on legal standards

The Israeli Government has set out the legal training and supervision relevant to the planning, execution and investigation of military operations. The Mission also met Col. (Ret.) Daniel Reisner, who was the head of the International Legal Department of the Military Advocate General’s Office of the Israeli Defense Forces from 1995 until 2004. In an interview with the Mission he explained how the principles and contents of international humanitarian law were instilled into officers. He explained the four-tiered training system, reflecting elements similar to those presented by the Government, which seeks to ensure knowledge of the relevant legal obligations for compliance in the field. Firstly, during training all soldiers and officers receive basic courses on relevant legal matters. The more senior the ranks, the more training is required “so that it becomes ingrained”. Secondly, before a significant or new operation, legal advice will be given. Col. Reisner indicated that he understood from talking with colleagues still in active service that detailed consultations had taken place with legal advisers in the planning of the December-January military operations. He was not in a position to say what that advice had been. Thirdly, there would be real-time legal support to commanders and decision makers at headquarters, command and division levels (but not at regiment levels or below). The fourth stage is that of investigation and prosecution wherever necessary.

The same framework explained by Col. Reisner appears to be repeated in similar detail in a presentation of the Office of the Legal Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

3. The means at the disposal of the Israeli armed forces

The Israeli armed forces are, in technological terms, among the most advanced in the world. Not only do they possess the most advanced hardware in many respects, they are also a market leader in the production of some of the most advanced pieces of technology available, including UAVs. They have a very significant capacity for precision strikes by a variety of methods, including aerial and ground launches. Moreover, some new targeting systems may have been employed in Gaza.

Taking into account all of the foregoing factors, the Mission, therefore, concludes that Israel had the means necessary to plan the December-January military operations in detail. Given both the means at Israel’s disposal and the apparent degree of training, including training in international humanitarian law, and legal advice received, the Mission considers it highly unlikely that actions were taken, at least in the aerial phase of the operations, that had not been the subject of planning and deliberation. In relation to the land-air phase, ground commanders would have had some discretion to decide on the specific tactics used to attack or respond to attacks. The same degree of planning and premeditation would therefore not be present. However, the Mission deduces from a review of many elements, including some soldiers’ statements at seminars in Tel Aviv and to Breaking the Silence, that what occurred on the ground reflected guidance that had been provided to soldiers in training and briefing exercises.

The Mission notes that it has found only one example where the Israeli authorities have acknowledged that an error had occurred. This was in relation to the deaths of 22 members of the al-Daya family in Zeytoun. The Government of Israel explained that its armed forces had intended to strike the house next door, but that errors were made in the planning of the operation. The Mission expresses elsewhere its concerns about this explanation (see chap. XI). However, since it appears to be the only incident that has elicited an admission of error by the Israeli authorities, the Mission takes the view that the Government of Israel does not consider the other strikes brought to its attention to be the result of similar or other errors.

In relation to air strikes, the Mission notes the statement issued in Hebrew posted on the website of the Israeli armed forces on 23 March 2009:

Official data gathered by the Air Force concluded that 99 per cent of the firing that was carried out hit targets accurately. It also concluded that over 80 per cent of the bombs and missiles used by the Air Force are defined as accurate and their use reduces innocent casualties significantly…

The Mission understands this to mean that in over 80 per cent of its attacks the Air Force deployed weapons considered to be accurate by definition – what are known colloquially as precision weapons as a result of guidance technology. In the other 20 per cent of attacks, therefore, it apparently used unguided bombs. According to the Israeli armed forces, the fact that these 20 per cent were unguided did not diminish their accuracy in hitting their targets, but may have caused greater damage than those caused by precision or “accurate” weapons.

These represent extremely important findings by the Israeli Air Force. It means that what was struck was meant to be struck. It should also be borne in mind that the beginning of the ground phase of the operation on 3 January did not mean the end of the use of the Israeli Air Force. The statement indicates:

During the days prior to the operation "Cast Lead", every brigade was provided with an escorting UAV squadron that would participate in action with it during the operation. Teams from the squadrons arrived at the armour and infantry corps, personally met the soldiers they were about to join and assisted in planning the infantry manoeuvres. The UAV squadrons had representatives in the command headquarters and officers in locations of actual combat who assisted in communication between the UAVs – operated by only two people, who are in Israeli territory – and the forces on the ground. The assistance of UAVs sometimes reached a ratio of one UAV to a regiment and, during extreme cases, even one UAV to a team.

Taking into account the ability to plan, the means to execute plans with the most developed technology available, the indication that almost no errors occurred and the determination by investigating authorities thus far that no violations occurred, the Mission finds that the incident and patterns of events that are considered in this report have resulted from deliberate planning and policy decisions throughout the chain of command, down to the standard operating procedures and instructions given to the troops on the ground.

B. The development of strategic objectives in Israeli military thinking

Israel’s operations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have had certain consistent features. In particular, the destruction of buildings, including houses, has been a recurrent tactical theme. The specific means Israel has adopted to meet its military objectives in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and in Lebanon have repeatedly been censured by the United Nations Security Council, especially its attacks on houses. The military operations from 27 December to 18 January did not occur in a vacuum, either in terms of proximate causes in relation to the Hamas/Israeli dynamics or in relation to the development of Israeli military thinking about how best to describe the nature of its military objectives.

A review of the available information reveals that, while many of the tactics remain the same, the reframing of the strategic goals has resulted in a qualitative shift from relatively focused operations to massive and deliberate destruction.

A comparison of the Dahiya neighborhood before and after Israel attacks in 2006. (Photos: Gorillas Guides)

In its operations in southern Lebanon in 2006, there emerged from Israeli military thinking a concept known as the Dahiya doctrine, as a result of the approach taken to the Beirut neighbourhood of that name. Major General Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli Northern Command chief, expressed the premise of the doctrine:

What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.

After the war in southern Lebanon in 2006, a number of senior former military figures appeared to develop the thinking that underlay the strategy set out by Gen. Eiskenot. In particular Major General (Ret.) Giora Eiland has argued that, in the event of another war with Hizbullah, the target must not be the defeat of Hizbullah but “the elimination of the Lebanese military, the destruction of the national infrastructure and intense suffering among the population… Serious damage to the Republic of Lebanon, the destruction of homes and infrastructure, and the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people are consequences that can influence Hizbollah’s behaviour more than anything else”.

These thoughts, published in October 2008 were preceded by one month by the reflections of Col. (Ret.) Gabriel Siboni:

With an outbreak of hostilities, the IDF will need to act immediately, decisively, and with force that is disproportionate to the enemy’s actions and the threat it poses. Such a response aims at inflicting damage and meting out punishment to an extent that will demand long and expensive reconstruction processes. The strike must be carried out as quickly as possible, and must prioritize damaging assets over seeking out each and every launcher. Punishment must be aimed at decision makers and the power elite… In Lebanon, attacks should both aim at Hizbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centres of civilian power that support the organization. Moreover, the closer the relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Government, the more the elements of the Lebanese State infrastructure should be targeted. Such a response will create a lasting memory among …Lebanese decision makers, thereby increasing Israeli deterrence and reducing the likelihood of hostilities against Israel for an extended period. At the same time, it will force Syria, Hizbollah, and Lebanon to commit to lengthy and resource-intensive reconstruction programmes…

This approach is applicable to the Gaza Strip as well. There, the IDF will be required to strike hard at Hamas and to refrain from the cat and mouse games of searching for Qassam rocket launchers. The IDF should not be expected to stop the rocket and missile fire against the Israeli home front through attacks on the launchers themselves, but by means of imposing a ceasefire on the enemy.

General Eisenkot used the language quoted above while he was in active service in a senior command position and clarified that this was not a theoretical idea but an approved plan.

Major General Eiland, though retired, was a man of considerable seniority. Colonel Siboni, while less senior than the other two, was nonetheless an experienced officer writing on his field of expertise in a publication regarded as serious.

The Mission does not have to consider whether Israeli military officials were directly influenced by these writings. It is able to conclude from a review of the facts on the ground that it witnessed for itself that what is prescribed as the best strategy appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.

C. Official Israeli statements on the objectives of the military operations in Gaza

The Mission is aware of the official statements on the goals of the military operations:

The Operation was limited to what the IDF believed necessary to accomplish its objectives: to stop the bombardment of Israeli civilians by destroying and damaging the mortar and rocket launching apparatus and its supporting infrastructure, and to improve the safety and security of Southern Israel and its residents by reducing the ability of Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza to carry out future attacks.

The Israeli Government states that this expression of its objectives is no broader than those expressed by NATO in 1998 during its campaign in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The Mission makes no comment on the legality or otherwise of NATO actions there.

D. The strategy to achieve the objectives

The issue that is of special concern to the Mission is the conceptualization of the “supporting infrastructure”. The notion is indicated quite clearly in General Eisenkot’s statements in 2006 and reinforced by the reflections cited by non-serving but well-informed military thinkers.

On 6 January 2009, during the military operations in Gaza, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai stated: "It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so they will understand not to mess with us”. He added that “it is a great opportunity to demolish thousands of houses of all the terrorists, so they will think twice before they launch rockets”. "I hope the operation will come to an end with great achievements and with the complete destruction of terrorism and Hamas. In my opinion, they should be razed to the ground, so thousands of houses, tunnels and industries will be demolished”. He added that “residents of the South are strengthening us, so the operation will continue until a total destruction of Hamas [is achieved]”.

On 2 February 2009, after the end of the military operations, Eli Yishai went on: “Even if the rockets fall in an open air or to the sea, we should hit their infrastructure, and destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired.”

On 13 January 2009, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, was quoted as saying:

We have proven to Hamas that we have changed the equation. Israel is not a country upon which you fire missiles and it does not respond. It is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing.

It is in the context of comments such as these that the massive destruction of businesses, agricultural land, chicken farms and residential houses has to be understood. In particular, the Mission notes the large-scale destruction that occurred in the days leading up to the end of the operations. During the withdrawal phase it appears that possibly thousands of homes were destroyed. The Mission has referred elsewhere in this report to the “day after” doctrine, as explained in the testimonies of Israeli soldiers, which can fit in with the general approach of massively disproportionate destruction without much difficulty.

The concept of what constituted the supporting infrastructure has to be understood not only in the context of the military operations of December and January, but in the tightening of the restrictions of access to goods and people into and out of Gaza, especially since Hamas took power. The Mission does not accept that these restrictions can be characterized as primarily an attempt to limit the flow of materials to armed groups. The expected impact, and the Mission believes primary purpose, was to bring about a situation in which the civilian population would find life so intolerable that they would leave (if that were possible) or turn Hamas out of office, as well as to collectively punish the civilian population.

The Israeli Government has stated:

While Hamas operates ministries and is in charge of a variety of administrative and traditionally governmental functions in the Gaza Strip, it still remains a terrorist organization. Many of the ostensibly civilian elements of its regime are in reality active components of its terrorist and military efforts. Indeed, Hamas does not separate its civilian and military activities in the manner in which a legitimate government might. Instead, Hamas uses apparatuses under its control, including quasi-governmental institutions, to promote its terrorist activity.

The framing of the military objectives Israel sought to strike is thus very wide indeed. There is, in particular, a lack of clarity about the concept of promoting “terrorist activity”: since Israel claims there is no real division between civilian and military activities and it considers Hamas to be a terrorist organization, it would appear that anyone who supports Hamas in any way may be considered as promoting its terrorist activity. Hamas was the clear winner of the latest elections in Gaza. It is not far-fetched for the Mission to consider that Israel regards very large sections of the Gazan civilian population as part of the “supporting infrastructure”.

The indiscriminate and disproportionate impact of the restrictions on the movement of goods and people indicates that, from as early as some point in 2007, Israel had already determined its view about what constitutes attacking the supporting infrastructure, and it appears to encompass effectively the population of Gaza.

A statement of objectives that explicitly admits the intentional targeting of civilian objects as part of the Israeli strategy is attributed to the Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Dan Harel.

While the Israeli military operations in Gaza were under way, Maj. Gen. Harel was reported as saying, in a meeting with local authorities in southern Israel:

This operation is different from previous ones. We have set a high goal which we are aiming for. We are hitting not only terrorists and launchers, but also the whole Hamas government and all its wings. […] We are hitting government buildings, production factories, security wings and more. We are demanding governmental responsibility from Hamas and are not making distinctions between the various wings. After this operation there will not be one Hamas building left standing in Gaza, and we plan to change the rules of the game.

E. Conclusions

The Israeli military conception of what was necessary in a future war with Hamas seems to have been developed from at least the time of the 2006 conflict in southern Lebanon. It finds its origin in a military doctrine that views disproportionate destruction and creating maximum disruption in the lives of many people as a legitimate means to achieve military and political goals.

Through its overly broad framing of the “supporting infrastructure”, the Israeli armed forces have sought to construct a scope for their activities that, in the Mission’s view, was designed to have inevitably dire consequences for the non-combatants in Gaza.

Statements by political and military leaders prior to and during the military operations in Gaza leave little doubt that disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy.

To the extent to which statements such as that of Mr. Yishai on 2 February 2009 indicate that the destruction of civilian objects, homes in that case, would be justified as a response to rocket attacks (“destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired”), the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law. Even if such actions could be considered a lawful reprisal, they do not meet the stringent conditions imposed, in particular they are disproportionate, and violate fundamental human rights and obligations of a humanitarian character. One party’s targeting of civilians or civilian areas can never justify the opposing party’s targeting of civilians and civilian objects, such as homes, public and religious buildings, or schools.

Destroyed school and mosque in Rafah, Gaza, 12 January 2009. Photo taken from UNRWA refugee shelter. (Photo: Pieter Stockmans)

63 Responses

  1. Avi
    January 26, 2010, 2:18 pm

    Look at that photo at the top and consider the term often touted by Israeli government spokespersons: “pinpoint accuracy”.

  2. Richard Witty
    January 26, 2010, 2:32 pm

    I see why Israel objects to the report. He shifts between generalizations of “what Israel does” and a quote from a general (then disclaiming the necessity to prove that what a single general says is instrumental policy and applied by causal demonstration).

    Its scary that that level of inference is interpreted as causal evidence. In the words of infallible Noam Chomsky “What other interpretation is possible?”

    That is NOT proof. Phil, did you really mean this to be convincing?

    • Donald
      January 26, 2010, 2:39 pm

      It’s strong evidence for anyone who isn’t a total hack. Three high ranking officers all in a position to know saying the same thing and the physical evidence shows that what they talked about was carried out. Plus it is also consistent with the blockade, which is intended to punish the population and has prevented reconstruction.

      • Donald
        January 26, 2010, 2:45 pm

        I miscounted–there are four officers plus several civilian officials all making damning admissions.

        Perhaps, Richard, you could go person-by-person and explain why their statements aren’t relevant, and then explain why the statements in total combined with what actually happened don’t demonstrate that Israel intended to cause civilian suffering. Telling us that it isn’t convincing to you tells us nothing.

      • tree
        January 26, 2010, 3:12 pm

        Telling us that it isn’t convincing to you tells us nothing.

        Actually, it tells us, yet again, what a hypocrite Richard is, and how totally blinded he is by his fantasy Israel. He’s spent the last few days insisting that one unattributed statement from a Hamas official that “blood would flow” if Israel attacked Gaza explains how Israel “overreacted” and caused so much destruction.

        One general and inconsequential statement by Hamas is enough to explain away everything that the IDF did in Gaza as far as Richard is concerned. But numerous statements from high ranking IDF and Israeli government officials explaining in detail Israeli policy is somehow irrelevant to understanding what happened, even though the destruction in Gaza corresponds exactly to the stated Israel doctrines. Glaring double standard yet again.

      • Donald
        January 26, 2010, 4:19 pm

        Good points, tree. And yeah, more of that famous Witty double standard. It really doesn’t matter how detailed a post is or what evidence is presented–he just waves it away.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2010, 5:50 pm

        That’s why Phil, his childhood buddy, has effectively waved Witty away, all the while giving Witty full say. “Give ’em enough rope and they will hang themselves.” Phil allows
        Witty on his blog as a commenter, no matter how much Witty abuses his (Phil’s) character, just to gain more support for, his, Phil’s POV–the fruit is plentiful–who can count the countless times Witty has hoisted himself up by his
        own (especially abstract) petard?

      • Bruce
        January 26, 2010, 6:07 pm

        You can be certain Richard will not respond. That would require some actual work on his part, something we have yet to see at Mondoweiss.

        No, he most likely will slink away now that you’ve asked him to document some proof of his assertions.

        Rather amusing considering Richard’s own level of inference whenever discussing the Palestinians or even us.

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2010, 4:02 am

        “‘He’s spent the last few days insisting that one unattributed statement from a Hamas official that “blood would flow” if Israel attacked Gaza explains how Israel “overreacted” and caused so much destruction.”‘

        Bear in mind, that Witty has yet to produce evidence that the “blood would flow” statement was even made, but in any case, Israel did have a choice whther to attack Gaza or not.

    • Avi
      January 26, 2010, 2:42 pm

      Nothing short of divine intervention will convince you, so what’s the point of asking that rhetorical question?

      I take that back. You seem like the kind who’d argue with God who will then go on to create a special place for people like you; there’ll be heaven, hell, purgatory and wittocracy.

      Now, to answer your ridiculous line of reasoning, the answer is simple. Generals are part of the decision making process. So, statements made by said generals are effectively the government’s sanctioned policy.

      • Mooser
        January 27, 2010, 11:16 am

        “I take that back. You seem like the kind who’d argue with God who will then go on to create a special place for people like you”

        That is exactly how I’ve always thought of Zionists, they want to “argue with God”. I thought I was the only one who ever thought that.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        January 27, 2010, 5:05 pm

        No Mooser, you’re not the only one. This was in the news:
        link to
        Followed a while later by
        link to

      • potsherd
        January 27, 2010, 5:12 pm

        Referring to The Onion is “the news” is stretching it.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        January 27, 2010, 6:05 pm

        Call me naive but if The Onion confirms that somebody else thought of the ‘challenging God’ theme too (well they say Jews instead of Zionists but nevermind that), then that’s good enough proof for me.

    • Adam Horowitz
      January 26, 2010, 2:48 pm

      First of all, if you took the time to check you would have noticed that I posted this, not Phil.

      Second, I see why Israel objects to the report as well. It’s because it demonstrates that Israel had the intention and means to destroy Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, and that’s exactly what it did. We’ll be posting more from the report along these lines, but this passage is to show that this attack wasn’t due to some “bad apples” or unintended outcome, but an intentional strategy to destroy Gaza.

      Interestingly enough this is a strategy that is embraced within Israel and is leading some commentators to argue that rather than sanction Israel for collective punishment, the laws of war need to be amended to allow for such behavior – link to

      • Avi
        January 26, 2010, 3:12 pm

        From the JPost article:

        As a result, what the Operations Directorate believes is necessary, is not a commission of inquiry like the Winograd Commission after the Second Lebanon War, but a change in the world’s understanding of the nature of modern warfare.

        And by that rationale, since Israel considers “modern warfare” to be the use of civilian population centers as a hiding place for armed forces, then should Hamas launch rockets that can reach the Kirya in Tel-Aviv, then it’s par for the course.

        It’s as if these guys are content dragging themselves deeper and deeper into the abyss with no sense of introspection.

      • Donald
        January 26, 2010, 4:23 pm

        From Adam’s link–

        “The IDF does not plan on significantly changing the way it fights in future conflicts. On the contrary, it will continue to target civilian infrastructure that is used by terrorists. ”

        Apparently the hasbara corps hasn’t fully coordinated its message–they didn’t target civilian infrastructure, oh wait, they did, but it was civilian infrastructure used by terrorists. With a sufficiently elastic definition of terrorist one can then bomb anyone and anything.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2010, 5:54 pm

        Yes, Adam. And the other running parallel objective is to stifle the notion of “universal jurisdiction.”

      • Psychopathic god
        January 26, 2010, 7:51 pm

        this attack wasn’t due to some “bad apples” or unintended outcome, but an intentional strategy to destroy Gaza.

        Interestingly enough this is a strategy that is embraced within Israel

        Not only “due to some bad apples,”
        Not only “intentional strategy to destroy Gaza [as Dahiya before Gaza],”
        Not only “a strategy that is embraced within Israel,”

        this strategy is part and parcel of Jabotinsky zionism, as Richard Silverstein discussed with Bill Alford on Seattle’s ‘Moral Politics’ radio program link to , defining zionist Israel’s Iron Wall philosophy (not just policy but a way of being in the world that characterizes Israeli zionism).

        In The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World, Avi Shlaim ascribes the philosophy as originating with Jabotinsky:

        ” ‘We cannot promise any reward either to the Arabs of Palestine or to the Arabs outside Palestine. A voluntary agreement is unattainable. …. Settlement can thus develop under the protection of a force that is not dependent on the local population, behind an iron wall which they will be powerless to break down.’

        “This, in a nutshell, was Jabotinsky’s policy regarding the Arab question: to erect an iron wall of Jewish military force. On the need for an iron wall, he claimed, there was agreement among all Zionists….”

        In an earlier Richard Silverstein video ( link to (at about 28 minutes)) Ian Lustick provided a useful precis of Jabotinsky’s Iron Wall philosophy:
        Lustic said:
        “We, the Israelis, need peace from the Arabs but the Arabs will never give it — we would not if we were they. So Israel must build an iron wall, meaning the military capacity, together with Western support, and use this military force in a pedagogical fashion, to beat into their heads that We Cannot Be Destroyed. Once “the gleam of hope has been erased from their eyes,” then we will be able to separate those who will accept half-a-loaf from those who will say, “Never,” and eventually we will be able to make peace with them.”

        Israelis frequently liken its founding and its exceptionalist democracy to the US.

        How does, “We must beat into their heads…’until the gleam of hope has been erased from their eyes’….” compare to “…endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?”

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2010, 4:04 am

        The fact is that this is hardly news. Israelis highest officials have stated this themselves, but Witty will still pretend there is no evidence of it.

        “‘The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”‘
        Ze’ev Shiff (Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha’aretz. )

        “‘There was a rational prospect, ultimately fulfilled, that affected populations would exert pressure for the cessation of hostilities, satisfying Israel’s goals.”‘
        Abba Eben (Israeli diplomat and politician)

    • marc b.
      January 26, 2010, 4:11 pm

      That is NOT proof. Phil, did you really mean this to be convincing?

      Witty, this was just gone through. The Goldstone Report is not the result of a criminal investigation nor is it the transcript of a legal proceeding. It was a preliminary investigation. And from the evidence that the Commission was able to gather it concluded that further investigations should be conducted by the warring parties, as well as the UN and others, and that prosecutions should follow those investigations if warranted. GEDDIT?

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2010, 6:05 pm

        Sure, Witty does. He feels his job it to prevent any real light on Israel’s activity. He feels that is the only way to insure “Jewish continuity for eternity.” From his tribal
        perspective, there’s no other option. You think the American propositional nation is the same as the Israeli propositional nation? The first is universal, the second is tribal
        under color of state law. Witty gets to have his cake and eat it too. As an American
        by birth, Witty gets to pontificate about universal humanism; as a Jew, Witty gets
        to pontificate about Israel’s racist policies regarding the Palestinians (for instance).
        We all know Witty is protected in his free speech by the USA’s police and military power–comprised nearly of all Gentiles.

        You can’t get a better portrait of Hypocrite than Dick Witty, full material & legal beneficiary of US Citizenship, and (very) anemic critic of Israel, where he does not live.

        And his son; what is he? An orthodox Jew?

        Audie Murphy, what do you have to say about these Wittys?

    • annie
      January 26, 2010, 8:31 pm

      a quote from a general? Gabi Eisenkot is the IDF Northern Command chief

      This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.

      describe the Dahiya Doctrine in whatever terms you please, it is still contrary to international humanitarian law. Israel knows this that is why they tried to change international law to accomodate it. calling civilian neighborhoods ‘military bases’, invading with 100’s of bulldozeres…. i don’t care how many lawyers try to justify it, it is against international law.

  3. Baruch Rosen
    January 26, 2010, 2:37 pm

    link to
    Nazis, Arabs planned Final Solution for pre-state Israel
    By Stan Goodenough

    • Taxi
      January 26, 2010, 6:18 pm

      Unlike the fascist Nazis, Arabs have very good reason indeed for hating Israelis.

      They want them to stop thugging around their neighborhoods and go back to europe where they really come from.

      • Chaos4700
        January 26, 2010, 9:39 pm

        Which makes an important distinction between European colonists, and actual native Jews.

    • James Bradley
      January 26, 2010, 11:43 pm

      Actually it was the Zionists that sought to enlist the aid of Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during WW2:

  4. Baruch Rosen
    January 26, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Photos, footage expose Hezbollah tactics
    Prove intentional use of civilians to shield its weapons, equipment

    Declassified IDF Photos and Footage Expose Hizbullah Tactics
    Dec 06, ’06

    The IDF has decided to release photos, documents and videos proving Hizbullah’s intentional use of civilians to shield its weapons, missile-launchers and surveillance equipment. A selection follows at:

    Avi look at these pics?
    This is how the Arabs love their children.
    link to

    • VR
      January 26, 2010, 5:48 pm

      What? No pictures of kids sitting on rockets? Get lost BR…

    • Taxi
      January 26, 2010, 6:19 pm

      Hizbullah kicked IDF’s ass so good in ’06.

      Live with it.

      Or go crying to your mummy.

    • UNIX
      January 27, 2010, 3:18 am

      Why would they put their rockets in civilian areas? That doesn’t make sense, is this link for real?

    • aparisian
      January 27, 2010, 5:31 am

      You know even though the laws of war are clear, the protection of non-combatants are the absolute priority. If Israel pretending to destroy Mosques and civilian infrastructures because they are used to “stock weapons” as you say, then ok but can you tell me what the difference between the rockets projected by Hamas into Israel? Your bomb and their rockets don’t respect the distinction principle of 4th Geneva convention.

    • Shingo
      January 27, 2010, 4:20 pm

      “‘Declassified IDF Photos and Footage Expose Hizbullah Tactics
      Dec 06, ‘06″‘

      How pathetic. These photos show nothing. All of them are devoid of any information apart from Israel’s diagrams demoting Hebollah this and Hezbollah that. I could take a photoof the local MacDonals, draw a box around the extrance and write “Bin Laden’s Kitchen” and it would be just as credible.

      Try this on for size Baruch:

      Amnesty and HRW Claims Discredited in Detailed Report
      link to

      Human Rights Watch: Troubling Report
      link to

      Israeli ‘human shield’ claim is full of holes
      link to

  5. Baruch Rosen
    January 26, 2010, 2:42 pm

    [Raed Said Hussein Saad (Abu Muadh), Commander, North Gaza, Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas website, December 12, 2005]
    “We succeeded, with Allah`s grace, to raise an ideological generation that loves death like our enemies love life. We will not abandon the way of Jihad and Shahada [Martyrdom] as long as one inch of our holy land is in the hands of the Jews.

    “Congratulations to our people of 1948 [Israeli Arabs] on the liberation of Gaza. You wish to destroy them [the Israelis] from their interior. We will never forget you, and never leave you. A day will come when our flag will fly above all the quarters of our land. Our flag will fly on the minarets of Jerusalem, and the walls of Acre, and [in] the quarters of Haifa.”

    • Citizen
      January 26, 2010, 6:11 pm

      Hey, hey, we get your spiel: Arabs love death, and not life; they view their children as
      expendable bullets; in contrast Jews love life, not death; they will take the whole world down to save one Jewish life. Next!

    • Colin Murray
      January 26, 2010, 6:58 pm

      @ Baruch Rosen January 26, 2010 at 2:42 pm

      Inverting the peoples and places in the rhetoric, these are nothing less than your own objectives. You and other colonial Zionists continue the current cycle of violence, an escalation from previous strife that started in 1967 with your organized and state-sponsored campaign of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and colonization.

      Large-scale punctuated events of Israeli ethnic cleansing followed by colonization occurred before 1967, but the ongoing brutal military governance of millions of Palestinians necessitated by the gradual or creeping ethnic cleansing that followed the post-1967 occupation has corrupted too many Israelis and their social and political institutions. Responsibility for the unwillingness of the Israeli political establishment to negotiate for a genuinely just and hence possibly stable final status agreement fundamentally lies with you colonists and those who vicariously cheer you on.

      American government support, which is the only reason Israel isn’t under withering pressure by the rest of the world, won’t last forever, and there are far more Muslims and Christians than you in the Holy Land and adjacent territories. You have, at US taxpayer expense, been given a temporary military dominance and rented the compliance of Arab autocrats like 80+ year-old Hosni Mubarak.

      However, leadership changes, and Israeli expansionism has alienated the peoples of nations in the Middle East and Europe, and increasingly in the United States. Do you seriously think that Israel’s vital European trading partners would maintain the current level of military, social, and economic ties if it weren’t for behind-closed-doors US pressure on European political elites?

      You colonial Zionists have put all your eggs in one basket, the United States, and while the process of dissolution of your support here is just starting, it is gaining momentum and adherents, including increasing numbers of younger American Jews. You have gone ‘one hilltop too far’ in the Occupied Territories.

      If you were wise, you would make a just and stable deal now while you still enjoy political dominance in the US Congress, giving the Palestinians back just enough land to have a genuinely sovereign and contiguous state whilst retaining as much as you can. Your unwillingness to roll back any colonization has made a stable two-state solution impossible and Jews are losing, or have already lost, a demographic majority west of the Jordan River. You have ensured that there will eventually be a one-state solution, barring massacres dwarfing those of the 1948 Nakba.

      Do you the ability to organize, and the willingness to commit, the murders of the 10’s of thousands of Palestinians that would be necessary to drive their millions like cattle from the Occupied Territories? The rest of the world would see you as gangsters far too dangerous and disruptive, especially to the global economy, to be allowed to retain your own polity. The already alarming (to you; I welcome Israeli emigration to America) increase in reverse aliyah would explode.

      The Holocaust is several generations distant, and the widespread toleration of 1948 has vanished. If you committed Nakba-2-on-steroids today, do you think the Israeli Lobby in America could save you from resulting adamant planet-wide calls for a terminal embargo, or worse? What about in 10 years when its waning power has further weakened currently wide but thin American public support and loosened its grip on the formulation and execution of US foreign policies of relevance to Israel? You may be smart, but you aren’t wise.

  6. Tuyzentfloot
    January 26, 2010, 4:13 pm

    It may be worthwile to also look at the differences with Lebanon. The war with Lebanon can still be viewed as the brutal master using unrestrained violence to impose its authority. With Gaza you can see another model as well, that of a permanently dedeveloped refugee camp that requires as little attention as possible from Israel.

  7. Jeffrey Blankfort
    January 26, 2010, 6:16 pm

    Israeli General Eisenkot was quoted as saying:

    “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

    I was in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut a year after the bombardment when the Lebanese were in the process of rebuilding in what was exclusively an area typical of any city with high rise apartements and businesses at the street level. It was not used by Hezbollah as a military outpost by any stretch of the imagination and it was not from there that Hezbollah launched its rockets into Israel. True, it had modest offices there which was not surprising since the quarter is predominantly Shia.

    What the Israelis were doing but in a more dramatic and even more criminal fashion was not essentially different from what the Nazis did to those opposing them. When a German soldier was killed, anywhere from 10 to 40 civilians would be rounded up for each one and shot in cold blood. Israel chooses to exact its collective punishment from the air. There is no fundamenta ldifference between those who formulated the policies of the German Wehrmacht and those of Israel today. I am not sure of what the Nazis called their Dahiya Doctrine but I am sure they had a name for it.

    In truth, the Israelis have been humbled twice by Hezbollah and while their high command continues to talk tough about what they will do the next time (which will Israel’s fourth war on Lebanon), I am sure there are few Israeli soldiers who served in the last encounter who are eager to meet Hezbollah once again on the battlefield.

  8. VR
    January 26, 2010, 6:36 pm

    Essentially the first post by Avi is a really good point –

    “Look at that photo at the top and consider the term often touted by Israeli government spokespersons: “pinpoint accuracy”. ”

    They like to pinpoint civilians, not merely the structures. Take the testimony of the head of the Red Cross while in Lebanon as an example:

    …the head of the International Red Cross accused Israel of war crimes, Jacob Kellenberger said they were threatening aid convoys with military attack. He dismissed their leaflets warning civilians as laughable if they thought it world dismiss them from vicious attacks on civilians. In his own words – “By letting down leaflets, you cannot get rid of your responsibilities under international humanitarian law.”

    I like to call the leaflets like the notes serial killers will leave, actually the ones that the Israeli military leaves are worse. This is because once the instructions are given, they bomb the escaping civilians.


    • VR
      January 26, 2010, 6:40 pm

      If you search around the archives (above) you will find plenty of evidence of war crimes. This is one of the most complete photo logs of Israeli atrocities.

    • Citizen
      January 26, 2010, 6:46 pm

      So what, Israel puts up a chimera of humanitarian notice of devastation—what does that mean, other than that Nazi Germany didn’t bother since it was self-sustained (actually despite Western antagonism, while Israel’s leaders know it is a USA welfare state (which includes full Western support)?

      The actual crime is much worse when it comes to hypocrisy.

      • Citizen
        January 26, 2010, 6:48 pm

        The impacted humans? Well, what worth do you give a Palestinian? Are they worth a Jewish toe these days?

      • VR
        January 26, 2010, 8:59 pm

        Here is an example –


  9. Rehmat
    January 26, 2010, 9:15 pm

    Zionists are known for learning lesson from the past history. They have always distorted the history to serve their evil agenda. Had they been honest about the Jewish past – they would have occupied a Christian land instead of a Muslim land.

    In Summer 2006 – Israel suffered its first military humilation at the hands of less than 2000 rocket and gun carrying Hizb’Allah fighters. During the last days of 34-day war – Israel dumped 30,000 of its fully equipped soldiers into the war backed by American supplied most modern tanks, helicopters anf F16s. Do you think Israeli leaders learned some lessons from their 2006 defeat? Nope, they’re still bragging about defeating Hizb’Allah and the REAL Armed Forces of Islamic Iran. Somehow, they they have the fogy notion that all Muslims are Palestinian ‘stone-throwers’.

    Bibi: Hezbollah is Lebanon’s real army
    link to

  10. Richard Witty
    January 26, 2010, 10:29 pm

    “Witty, this was just gone through. The Goldstone Report is not the result of a criminal investigation nor is it the transcript of a legal proceeding. It was a preliminary investigation. And from the evidence that the Commission was able to gather it concluded that further investigations should be conducted by the warring parties, as well as the UN and others, and that prosecutions should follow those investigations if warranted. GEDDIT?”

    I agree that further substantive investigations should follow. I hope your supporters heard “It was preliminary investigation”.

    That is a different beast than what is presented here. I’m sorry to misname the author as Phil. I didn’t read that.

    The point that I was making is that the language of the report presented seems to describe proof, but I don’t see it. I see innuendo from admittedly incomplete information presented as authoritative, generalization without detail support. It doesn’t pass my skeptical inquiry, at least the section reported. I’m still skeptical after reading.

    It actually reminds me of the Walt/Mearsheimer article, in its generalizations and innuendo.

    I believe that we need more than this. The consequences of adopting the report, in the form of indicting and arresting Israeli officials, is very severe and potentially persecutorial. Please take that seriously.

    I’m gone for three days. Bash away.

    • Chaos4700
      January 26, 2010, 11:06 pm

      Do you secretly wish you were a Jewish mother instead of a father? It would explain a great deal about the melodrama you put the rest of us through.

      I continue to be impressed — and disgusted — that the phony self-described “humanist” can look at the terror, death and destruction his golden calf has wrought upon Dahiya and feel nothing.

    • Donald
      January 27, 2010, 12:04 am

      Richard doesn’t make a single substantive point in this post. He doesn’t mention any evidence, doesn’t deal with any of the quotes, gives no plausible alternative explanation for why so many Israeli officials said these things–in fact, if you read Richard’s post you’d have no idea what was in Adam’s post except that it was critical of Israel, so Richard doesn’t accept it. What Richard does do is speak in generalities–he emphasizes that it was a “preliminary investigation”,but that’s just a label, an excuse for not talking about anything that was actually said. The evidence is there whether it was turned up in a preliminary investigation or a final one. He then goes on to speak about “generalizations” and innuendo, but again doesn’t touch the specifics.

      You could take this comment of Richard’s and apply it to virtually any investigation into any alleged criminal activity, because there are no references to any details whatsover. Change a few proper nouns and he could be talking about some report about literally anything–Watergate, Sabra and Shatila, Iran/Contra, Abu Ghraib, Bernie Madoff, Monica Lewinsky, you name it.

      I suggest we use the three days he’s given us to have a contest–write the best generic Witty post you can. Like this one, it has to be applicable to any conceivable situation where a report was made which reached conclusions he didn’t like. Any trace of substance is grounds for automatic disqualification. The winner will have the satisfaction of knowing he or she can type vacuous gibberish that makes no discernible point.

      • Donald
        January 27, 2010, 12:06 am

        Kidding about the contest, of course. There’d be no point to it–besides, nothing could touch the original and we see those all the time.

      • jimby
        January 27, 2010, 10:44 am

        The most amusing to me is when he “speaks” for the Jews. It’s as if he has canvassed the entirety. He reminds me of Algonquin J Calhoun, the lawyer on the old Amos and Andy show. Lots of verbiage signifying nothing.

      • Richard Witty
        January 27, 2010, 4:38 am

        Thats false.

        I was addressing the tone and lack of demonstration of cause in the selection of the report that Adam chose to report.

        Its sadly stated like circumstantial evidence in a murder case, with severe consequences to the judgement. It got to suspicion, but not to cause.

        The recommendation to investigate further is the appropriate recommendation. And, Israel’s recommendation of review the law given the context of a state defending against a militia, is also an appropriate recommendation.

      • Shingo
        January 27, 2010, 5:40 am

        One can always tell that you have no substantive argument, or facts, when you start talking about tone. As always, and as Doanl pointed out, you haven’t made a single substantive point in this post. Your posts are always phylosphical arguments, based on circular and incoherent diatribes.

        As someone who has admited he never read the report, what puts you in a position to criticse the selection of the report that Adam chose to report? You don”t even know what you are talking about do you Witty? You’re simply here to make noise and hope that as long as you hit the submit button, the subject is still ambiguous.

        What do you expect we’ll be seeing from an Israeli review Witty? A mea culpa? Whake up from your psychotic delusion. Israel has stated that any report that does to conclude that Hamas as 100% responsible is biased against Israel.

        And for your bad apples theory, don’t even waste your time with that one. Ehud Barak has said that the Lebanese government will be held responsible for any future war with Hebollah, which is simply a threat that Israel will be targetting Lebanese infrastructure and Lebanese civilians if Hezbollah dare to fight back.

        Yes this is a case fo bad apples. They just happen to be the government of Israel.

      • Chaos4700
        January 27, 2010, 7:50 am

        Seriously, Witty. You’re a monster. You can really look at those photos of what Israel did, just to Dahiya, and NOT CARE? Not even slightly? You really need to realize that no amount of verbal flourish or rhetorical gymnastics are going to disguise the fact that you’re completely sociopathic when it comes to the pain and suffering of anyone who’s not part of your Jewish clique.

      • Donald
        January 27, 2010, 8:56 am

        “I was addressing the tone and lack of demonstration of cause in the selection of the report that Adam chose to report.”

        “Tone” is what you usually address. The report selection contains numerous quotes from high ranking Israeli military officers and civilian officials all indicating a willingness to target civilian infrastructure. You didn’t address any of it–instead, you sit back and grandly announce that it wasn’t convincing to you. That is completely meaningless. You could literally be talking about anything, because you don’t bother to respond to the specifics.

    • marc b.
      January 27, 2010, 7:43 pm

      I believe that we need more than this. The consequences of adopting the report, in the form of indicting and arresting Israeli officials, is very severe and potentially persecutorial. Please take that seriously.

      Select one: a. dumb; b. dishonest; c. both a and b. No other possible explanantions.

  11. Donald
    January 27, 2010, 8:59 am

    “nd, Israel’s recommendation of review the law given the context of a state defending against a militia, is also an appropriate recommendation.”

    Ah, I didn’t catch that last part. So you agree Israel that the laws of war should be re-examined and perhaps weakened in their favor. Now that’s substance–it doesn’t address the evidence in this post, but it shows how you think.

  12. Mooser
    January 27, 2010, 11:22 am

    I skipped ahead: So I was right, “Witty and the Hasbarettes, featuring the tall tales of Baron von Munchrosen” are going to kvetch over each installment of this series on the Goldstone report. as if they didn’t drag out all the same drek each time! Complete amnesia about what they said last time.
    We could save ourselves so much trouble, you know? Once Zionism-support is recognised as a syndrome, a disturbed state, not just of the mind, but of the entire physiology. What else could produce this radical altering of reality?

    • edwin
      January 27, 2010, 4:49 pm

      I think that there has been just a little too much abuse of psychiatry in order to control thought to allow the barb to stand.

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