‘The Goldstone Report’ now belongs to the world

In the wake of Judge Richard Goldstone’s op-ed in the Washington Post “reconsidering” one part of the United Nations report on the Gaza conflict that he co-authored, many have tried to write the obituary for the Goldstone Report. The truth is that the Report is more alive than ever. The ferocious debate ignited by Judge Goldstone’s Op-Ed has demonstrated that the world refuses to forget those 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1300 people, including over 300 children.

And it has shown that the 450 pages of the report have lost none of their power to shock and galvanize.

“The court of world opinion has accepted that the Report is credible and that the events it described occurred,” Desmond Travers, a retired colonel in the Irish army and a member of the Gaza fact-finding mission along with Goldstone, told us yesterday. “People saw on their TV screens that unacceptable levels of terror were brought down on a defenseless city. And then a report came out and confirmed that understanding.”

As many others have pointed out, Goldstone’s op-ed does not stand as a recantation of the Goldstone Report. Even if one accepts Judge Goldstone’s claim that Israel did not intentionally target civilians during Operation Cast Lead – a position that the U.N. Committee of Experts, the official body charged with monitoring Israeli and Palestinian investigations into Cast Lead, does not support – the vast majority of the report stands as written. As Judge Goldstone has said himself in an interview with the Associated Press, “I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

This means that Judge Goldstone still believes that Israel and the Palestinian authorities committed war crimes during the conflict, that Israel intentionally targeted Gaza’s civilian infrastructure and used “deliberately disproportionate force designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize the civilian population.” These are the damning charges that remain unchallenged and that demand international action.

Beyond the specific charges leveled by Goldstone’s fact-finding mission, perhaps the true legacy of the Report is the way that it reconfigured the world’s understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Goldstone Report helped “to reframe the Israeli-Palestinian debate around the world,” the LA Times editorialized. Instead of a superficial political debate about a stagnant peace process, the Goldstone Report introduced the concepts of international law and human rights into the discourse. It gave us a new language with which to describe the atrocities of Operation Cast Lead – and not just Operation Cast Lead, but the decades of Israeli occupation – and in giving us this language, it held out a solution to the “crisis of human dignity” that has perpetuated violence in the region for so long.

As Naomi Klein writes in the introduction to The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict: “The Goldstone Report, with its uncompromising moral consistency, has revived the old-fashioned principle of universal human rights and international law—a system which, flawed as it is, remains our best protection against barbarism. When we rally around Goldstone, insisting that this report be read and acted upon, it is this system that we are defending.”

This is a cause that was taken up around the world following the original publication of the Goldstone Report, and the commitment to that cause can be seen today in the outrage and confusion surrounding Judge Goldstone’s Op-Ed.

As editors of The Goldstone Report (an abridged version of the report with a dozen essays) we recognize and honor the work that Judge Goldstone has done to help bring the report to fruition. But we also believe that now the report stands apart from him. It is no longer his report, or even the UN’s report, but it is our report.

“Richard and I ceased to have any connection to the report when we turned it in and it was accepted by the Human Rights Council,” Colonel Travers says. International civil society has seized up the call for justice and transformed the Goldstone Report from a simple document to a powerful tool for truth-telling and accountability. “It starts with reading the report,” Naomi Klein writes. 

No doubt there will be many people who will exploit this moment to attempt to bury the report once and for all. The Israeli government has been working overtime to press the United Nations into voiding, or at least qualifying, the original document, while longtime Goldstone Report critics have been gleefully pressing the line that the whole report is now mortally flawed.

But the process the report started can’t be so easily undone. It has permanently transformed the landscape of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will not be unraveled by a single Op-Ed.

The authors are editors of The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict.

About Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, and Phil Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 149 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. “This means that Judge Goldstone still believes that Israel and the Palestinian authorities committed war crimes during the conflict,”

    Is this what he said? I thought he used the term “may”.

    As the likud exagerated the message of the op-ed, I think you exagerate the significance of the original report, or ultimate legal result – if appraised through an actual legal process – rather than strictly political.

    The critical difference in tone (substantive – you know, words matter) between the legal report and your summary is of condemnation of the whole, and every element of Cast Lead. That is not what an investigation uncovers. What it uncovers is the exceptions to the norm.

    Neither it, nor you, distinguish extent.

    The baseline of investigation has to be a determination first of the range of admissable scope of military action in Gaza. Goldstone assumes that to respond to the Hamas war crimes of shelling of civilians, that some military response is necessary.

    So, what would be the range of possible responses?

    Token targeting of abandoned buildings?, Single targeting of known terror infrastructure or command centers (also containing civilians, yes human shields)? Limited ground sweep? Relatively deep ground invasion with no air support/preparation? Relatively deep ground invasion with air support/preparation? All-out war?

    Israel chose the relatively deep ground invasion with air support/preparation, and not the minimalist approach at that by any stretch.

    Was that an admissable scope? If the Hamas assertions prior to the invasion were to be believed, then possibly.

    If that were an admissable scope of invasion, what strategic actions would be consistent with that and what inconsistent? The Goldstone report’s description of “we did not see any justification” is not proof, especially if new evidence is or becomes available. (The question of “what new evidence did you discover” is a good one.)

    If the chosen scope of invasion is regarded as admissable, then the range of accusations is not of the state perse, so much as of the performance of individuals.

    It IS a big difference, and differs from your thesis.

    Where does this get played out? Is there a real court of law capable of determining this, or does the politically motivated grand jury control? Who is the jury?

    Does Meshal get arrested as well? Sharing a cell with Olmert?

    • Donald says:

      ” Goldstone assumes that to respond to the Hamas war crimes of shelling of civilians…”

      I guess we don’t have to do any investigating there. Funny how that works.

    • Leigh says:

      Witty, unless you can provide reasons for thinking that the Goldstone report was more political than legal, the rest of us will believe that international legal authorities are legal rather than political. Further, many of us have addressed the scope issue:

      1. The problem to which Israel is responding has a political, not a military, solution. The Palestine papers add more weight to the already strong suspicion that it is Israel that is stalling the process since they’re trying to continue to occupy some of the land outside the 1967 borders, that is, land that the UN Security Council has repeatedly judged they should not build on. so since Israel is using a military solution in Gaza because the political solution doesn’t suit them, every imaginable international court will judge that the scope of their military assaults is way too wide. (or even that military action is illegal, period).

      2. The groups in Gaza are prepared to stick to ceasefires, Israel isn’t. You seem incapable of internalising the idea, but Operation Cast Lead started when Israel broke a ceasefire, not Hamas. So again, states have the right to defend themselves violently, but only if non-violent options are not available. Israel refuses the non-violent options, so give their military operations to the International Criminal Court or to the International Court of Justice, please o please.

      The Goldstone report addresses the scope issue from Paragraph 1189:

      1189. 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. …

      1190. 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.

      1191. 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.

      1192. General Giora Eiland: 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”.

      1193. Col. 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. … attacks should both aim at Hizbollah’s military capabilities and should target economic interests and the centres of civilian power that support the organization. … 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. 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.

      1200. Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai: “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”. … “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.”

      1202: Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: “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.”

      1195. 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.

      1203. 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.

      1210. Through its overly broad framing of the (Hamas) “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.

      1211. 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.

      1212. 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.

      This links up with the reason why the intentionality issue is unimportant. A main premis of the Goldstone report was that Israel re-categorised civilians as combattants (children playing on roofs might be spies, police might be soldiers) and then killed them. So they didn’t think, “Ah, we’ll kill ourselves some civilians,” which would have been intentional. Instead they called the civilians combattants and then killed them. Same with infrastructure.

      • Philip Weiss says:

        thank you for this extensive informative comment

      • eee says:

        Leigh,

        Thank you for showing how stupid the Goldstone report is. What is the doctrine of MAD (mutually assured destruction) that the US employed in the cold war?

        It basically says that if the USSR targets the US, the US will categorize ALL Soviet’s as combatants and kill them. This was a great strategy to stop war. When Israel tries to create such deterrence, it is a war crime. Take your hypocrisy somewhere else.

        As for the cease fires Hamas “respects”, that is BS. Do you really think we are that stupid? All Hamas has to do is to shot a few missiles and declare a cease fire. Then what? Basically, what you propose is leaving all the initiative to Hamas. They have to understand that Israel will not accept ANY rocket fire from Gaza and the consequences for them will be dire if rockets are fired.

        • Leigh says:

          Targeting civilians is a war crime, regardless of who does it, Russia, the US or Israel or anyone else. So the hypocrisy isn’t mine.

          Regarding cease fires, as I just quoted on the other article to a similar point made by you, there are studies that show that Israel is the more aggressive side, not Hamas. Between sept 2000 and dec 2008, Israel broke 79% of peaceful periods, the Palestinians broke 8% and they both attacked on the same day 13% of the time. When the peaceful periods were between 6 and 8 days, Israel broke 96% of them, and when they were more than 9 days, Israel broke them all. So Israel just doesn’t have the world’s sympathy anymore as this poor passive victim that sits and waits to be attacked. They’re responsible for the problem,. Black people in south Africa were violent, the moment apartheid ended, their violence stopped. Stop pretending that Palestinian violence is coming out of nowhere. It isn’t.

        • eee says:

          Leigh,

          Yes, the hypocrisy is yours because you are trying to hold Israel to standards that YOUR country does not hold up to. Fix your own country before complaining about a 7 million people country the size of NJ with half being a desert.

          Regarding the cease fires, the statistics are meaningless and misleading. It often takes days to make a targeted attack, while Hamas just shoots missiles in the direction of Sderot. I do not expect your sympathy, but I do plan to continue defending myself using every means possible and I hope you understand that all the blame lies with Hamas. All they have to do is stop shooting rockets. No ifs, buts or “legalese”. Otherwise, they and the people they rule will suffer.

        • Leigh says:

          Wo, I’m South African. And my country managed to fix itself through negotiations after trying to fix things through violence for years before then. That’s why it’s sad that Israel is planning to stretch this through violence for as long as it takes. If violence has not worked up to now, it won’t.

        • I think it is accurate to say that Israel adopts an anticipatory military approach. In its own language “we don’t wait to retaliate, we prevent”. Which in the language of the left is “violation of cease-fire”.

          Their military thesis is that they HAVE TO anticipate, that to fail to in the environment of escalating terror, is to surrender/die.

          I still retain the question for Phil, Adam, others, of what they propose as an alternative, effective approach to respond to rocket launchers.

          With a triangular relation (Hamas/PA/Israel) in which Hamas is seeking to gain street cred relative to the PA, by sticking it to Israel, to state that Israel should have established diplomatic paths with Hamas (even as Hamas retains an actively hostile relation to Israel, including shelling civilians routinely and frequently), is strained.

          Easy to say, difficult to do in fact.

          I don’t know for sure, but I actually believe that if Hamas really stopped aggressive actions against Israel (including holding Shalit, they should unilaterally release him frankly), that Gaza would be quiet.

          It is not quiet now, and it is more than feasible that it will spin out to further war.

          Again, my view is that both sides dance with each other, and I agree with EEE to an extent, that in many ways, Hamas leads the dance.

          And, the dance is one of “moderates be damned”.

          Many of the cites in your post were political statements, Leigh, extra-legal.

          The ambiguity of Gaza’s status and of Hamas’ status remains, which they make no effort to change.

          Like likud thinking that the status quo is acceptable, Hamas appears to regard the status quo similarly.

          One significant implication of the Goldstone op-ed was relative to the proposed remedy of the report. From references here, the report itself was somewhat ambiguous as to whether it sought the remedy of report and reform on the IDF, or sought subsequent legal proceedings.

          The op-ed implied that Israel was at least partially pursuing internal accountability and reform. Likud statements in the press, implied that they understood the op-ed as vindication, that no reforms were needed (a tragedy). In the op-ed Goldstone did comment on that the accountability was delayed, a common legal tactic. (Consider the promise Hariri indictments.)

          If the remedy of reform is what is critical, and Israel is doing so materially, then subsequent legal action would be redundant, or quickly resolved in a fair hearing.

          If the remedy of punishment is what is critical, then it is unlikely that Israel will cooperate at all.

        • Shingo says:

          In its own language “we don’t wait to retaliate, we prevent”. Which in the language of the left is “violation of cease-fire”.

          So having argued for the last 2 years that Israel was responding to rocket attacks and repeatedly ignored the vents of November 4th, you’ve now decided that Cast Lead wasn’t about the rocket attacks that followed the ceasefire. It was all about preventing rockets from being fired.

          Your flip flop is even more egregious than Goldstone’s.

          You’ ve painted yourself into a corner. 

          So you can no longer claim that Israel responded to any rocket attacks, if indeed Cast Lead was a preventative action , but if it was a preventative action, then why did Israel wait another month (after rocket attacks had commenced) before launching the second stage of Cast Lead?

          Furthermore, what evidence is there that Israel were preventing war, other than their own ludicrous claims?

          The trouble with lying Witty, is that you need a good memory, and yours is very poor.

        • eljay says:

          >> In its own language “we don’t wait to retaliate, we prevent”. Which in the language of the left is “violation of cease-fire”.

          So when Israel undertakes offensive military actions (i.e., when Israel “starts it”), that’s acceptable. But when Hamas says “we don’t wait to retaliate, we prevent” (when Hamas “starts it”), you call it terrorism.

          Once again, your Zio-supremacist hypocrisy couldn’t be any more clear.

          You may not rant like a hateful lunatic, the way eee does (and he sure has been busy today!), but your Zio-supremacist bias is just as clear as his.

        • Citizen says:

          Atta boy, eee, MAD, a stand-off between two nuclear-armed superpowers, the cold war era US and former USSR, is mirrored by the I-P contest. After all, a few of those Warsaw Ghetto rebels had pistols and a couple of bullets too!

        • Polly says:

          “I still retain the question for Phil, Adam, others, of what they propose as an alternative, effective approach to respond to rocket launchers.”

          I’ll answer – get out of the occupied territories. Dismantle the settlements – COMPROMISE!
          I would support Israel ABSOLUTELY if it would take action on this one issue. This wouldn’t appease the Palestinians of course but it would be the first REAL attempt to show that Israel does not have a hidden agenda to grab the lot.

        • Miriam says:

          Polly…interesting response you wrote….and your belief that COMPROMISE would make your support for Israel ABSOLUTE if they’d only compromise….but then you gunked it up with: “this wouldn’t appease the Palestinians, of course, but it would be the first REAL attempt to show that Israel does not have a hidden agenda to grab the lot.”…..you wrote.
          Just HOW do you know what “the Palestinians” want? How did you come to that belief? ……as well as knowing so sincerely what or what not Israel might have as a “hidden agenda”…to grab it all. Your statement that compromise would not appease The Palestinians just LEAPED off the page…..seems presumptuous at the the very least..

        • eljay says:

          >> … get out of the occupied territories. Dismantle the settlements – COMPROMISE!
          >> … This wouldn’t appease the Palestinians of course …

          It wouldn’t appease the Zio-supremacists, either. Just ask eee – he’ll tell you.

      • Donald says:

        You’ve been typing some very good posts, Leigh. It’s appreciated. And don’t worry about whether it has any impact on Witty, because it won’t. But the rest of us thank you.

        • James North says:

          Leigh: I agree with Donald; please keep commenting. What part of South Africa are you from? I spent 4 years there during the apartheid era.

      • Shingo says:

        Superb post indeed Leigh.

        You highlight what an intellectual light weight Witty reallyy is.

      • Leigh
        This is one of the most comprehensive comments I’ve come around in a long time. Thank you very much for this effort.

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Has anyone noticed that Witty’s comment spam has skyrocketed even further? How many comments has he left in like the last two weeks? Like, a thousand?

      He didn’t speak this much while Operation Cast Lead was going on but BOY, when it comes to attacking the legitimate investigation of those events he’s all over that.

      • Jim Haygood says:

        “This means that Judge Goldstone still believes that Israel and the Palestinian authorities committed war crimes during the conflict,”

        Is this what he said? I thought he used the term “may”. – R. Witty

        As is typical, Witty provides no link for his assertion, leading one to believe that he just made it up. The term ‘may’ does not appear in Goldstone’s recent WaPo essay. And Goldstone was even more emphatic in the Sep. 2009 press conference accompanying the original release of the report:

        “There is strong evidence to establish that numerous serious violations of international law . . . were committed by the Israel Defense Forces,” Goldstone said at a news conference in New York. “The mission concluded that actions amounting to war crimes and possibly in some respect crimes against humanity were committed by the Israel Defense Forces.

        link to washingtonpost.com

        Links talk; b.s. walks, as it were. Witty’s unsubstantiated, reference-free quibbling is tantamount to trolling. Responsible people go to considerable trouble to rebut him, as Leigh did above. Then he either ignores them or changes the subject.

        The facade of humanism can’t disguise the sleazy intellectual dishonesty lurking behind it … what Phil characterized as ‘appalling moral lintpicking.’

        • Shingo says:

          As is typical, Witty provides no link for his assertion, leading one to believe that he just made it up.

          Is there any doubt that this is what he has always done? Ask him for any links to substantiate his latest diatribes and he’ll either ignore you, change the subject or run away.

          Talents latest bomb, so to speak:

           Their military thesis is that they HAVE TO anticipate, that to fail to in the environment of escalating terror, is to surrender/die.

          Now where does Witty get this insider information? Could he provide a link of he was asked?

          Of course not, he makes it up.

           With a triangular relation (Hamas/PA/Israel) in which Hamas is seeking to gain street cred relative to the PA, by sticking it to Israel

          Witty has Harper on about street cred for over a year, but thus theory was blown out if the water by the Wikileaks document that revealed that the Israeli government were be inning anxious that the ceasefire was solidifying Hamas’ political grip and that military action was needed to cut Hamas off at the knees.  So contrary to Witty’s invented theory,Hamas were getting all the street cred they could eat by NOT attacking Israel.

          Witty has become a safe barometer of reality. Whatever he asserts is normally 180 degrees away from the truth. 

        • annie says:

          seeking to gain street cred relative to the PA

          hahahahahahahah since when does the PA have ‘street cred’. hellllo

        • Yes, that is hilarious. Witty believes Hamas wants ‘street cred’. Good grief. Those hipster Hamas guys want to be cool and down with the kids. Yes, this the level of analysis and informed comment Witty brings to us, clogging up threads with the most obfuscatory opaque language based on his own suppositions and fantasies with never any links to evidence or well-argued points. You would think he would learn something from the many excellent points and evidence-based arguments here, but he gives the impression of never reading anything substantive. Perhaps he is a ziobot, a teenager hunched over the keyboard in the West Bank making up a pseudo-intellectual character.

        • Shingo says:

          Yes, that is hilarious. Witty believes Hamas wants ‘street cred’. Good grief.

          The term ‘street cred’ apepars nowhere on the internat with respect to this conflict other than Witty’s own incoherent ramblings.

          The fact is that Hamas were gettign plenty of street cred from the ceasefire and this is what was making Israeli leaders so anxious that they put military action back on the table.

          Wikileaks confirmed this.

        • Shingo says:

          Perhaps he is a ziobot, a teenager hunched over the keyboard in the West Bank making up a pseudo-intellectual character.

          A teenage mind trapped inside the body of a 56 year old man.

      • GuiltyFeat says:

        Chaos, you buffoon, no one writes as many comments as you!

    • Hostage says:

      “This means that Judge Goldstone still believes that Israel and the Palestinian authorities committed war crimes during the conflict,”

      Is this what he said? I thought he used the term “may”.

      All of the crimes against humanity and war crimes cited in the report fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in accordance with Article 5 of the Rome Statute. All of the permitted defenses are listed in “Article 31. Grounds for excluding criminal responsibility”. Most of the arguments made in the comments here regarding a “broken cease fire” or “reprisal” for mortar and rocket attacks are irrelevant.

      Here is a list of some of the “war crimes”metioned in the report. It does not contain the “crimes against humanity”:

      “From the facts it ascertained, the Mission finds that there has been a violation of the grave breaches provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Unlawful and wanton destruction which is not justified by military necessity amounts to a war crime.” — page 21

      “The Mission concludes that this practice amounts to the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields and is therefore prohibited by international humanitarian law. It puts the right to life of the civilians at risk in an arbitrary and unlawful manner and constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment. The use of human shields also is a war crime.” — page 23

      “The Mission concludes that this treatment constitutes the infliction of a collective penalty on these civilians and amounts to measures of intimidation and terror. Such acts are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and constitute a war crime. — page 23

      “The Mission also finds that the intentional use as human shields of those whose accounts are presented above qualifies as inhuman treatment of and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention. As such, the Mission considers the conduct of the Israeli armed forces in relation to such persons to amount to grave breaches of the said Convention. The use of human shields is also a war crime under article 8 (2) (b) (xxiii) of the Rome Statute.” — page 232

      “The rounding-up of large groups of civilians and their prolonged detention under the circumstances described above constitute a collective penalty on those persons in violation of article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and article 50 of the Hague Regulations. Such treatment amounts to measures of intimidation and terrorism, prohibited under article 33 and a grave breach of the Convention that constitutes a war crime. — page 249

      “…holding the detainees in sandpits without privacy …This treatment also constituted outrages on personal dignity, humiliating and degrading treatment contrary to the Geneva Conventions, common article 3, and Additional Protocol I, article 75 (2) (b). The abuse, which required a considerable degree of planning and control, was sufficiently severe to constitute inhuman treatment within the meaning of article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus a grave breach of the said Convention that would constitute a war crime.” — page 249

      “The Mission finds, on the information before it, that the treatment of the women in the sandpits, where they endured especially distressing circumstances, was contrary to this provision and would also constitute a war crime. — page 249

      “The Mission has received information relating to the particular treatment received by some witnesses, such as shackling, severe beatings during detention and interrogation, being held in foul conditions or solitary confinement, which added to their already profound sense of degradation. Such treatment violates article 31 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits physical or moral coercion against protected persons, “in particular to gain information from them”. This would also constitute a war crime.” — page 249

  2. Kathleen says:

    Very interesting

    So telling that the Diane Rehm show did not do a show on the Goldstone report when it came out. But now mention Goldstones retraction in his recent op ed in the Washingtion post on the word “intention”. Whether Israel has a written or stated policy to target civilians “intentionally” Israel killed14oo Palestinians in Cast Lead ….Yet Diane and team did not throw in Goldstone’s most recent comments in the Associated Press about his comments in the op ed

    Nevertheless, Goldstone said, he did not intend to seek the report’s nullification.
    “As appears from the Washington Post article, information subsequent to publication of the report did meet with the view that one correction should be made with regard to intentionality on the part of Israel,” the judge said. “Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration, but as presently advised I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

    How manipulative

  3. Jim Haygood says:

    This just in from JTA:

    ————

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — A group of American Jewish lawyers is set to file a civil lawsuit against Richard Goldstone initiated by Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon.

    The class action suit against the author of the Goldstone Report, a United Nations document about Israel’s conduct during the monthlong Gaza war in the winter of 2008-09, is set to be filed next week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan by attorney Steve Goldberg, according to a statement issued Wednesday from Danon’s office.

    Danon met with the attorneys during a recent visit to the United States, the statement said. It gave no further information on Goldberg or the other attorneys involved in the suit.

    The lawsuit will demand that Goldstone publicly apologize to the State of Israel and pay a symbolic amount of damages for the accusations he made in the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict report.

    “The Goldstone Report is nothing less than a modern version of the infamous blood libels against the Jewish people,” said Danon.

    link to jta.org

    ————

    Are they serious? As the commissioned author of a report for the UN, Goldstone surely enjoys some sort of legal immunity. The UN, not the authors personally, would be responsible for the report’s content.

    Secondly, the plaintiffs are essentially claiming libel against a nation, not against a specific person. Nations say harsh things about each other, often with good reason. But they aren’t persons who suffer emotional wounds.

    This frivolous lawsuit really says more about the plaintiffs than it does about Goldstone. Namely, it reeks of petty-minded vindictiveness. The Jewish lawyers who filed this speculative suit are likely to ding their own reputations worse than Goldstone ever could have done. What a buncha dicks …

    • Chaos4700 says:

      Fifth column much? They won’t sue Bush, won’t sue Obama, won’t sue any American politician who’s been behind the crimes committed by the US government (on our own people even, let alone overseas) but they’ll sue people that ISRAEL has declared political war on?

    • pabelmont says:

      Oh, this is not frivolous. No, No, No. Think of the German reparations paid to Israel (not to injured Jews, mind), after the Holocaust. Maybe the UN will pay reparations to Israel, which has had to put up with so many hateful UNGA and UNSC resolutions, including UNGA-181 (1947) and UNGA-194 (1948) and UNSC-465 (1980).

      And can anyone in her right mind doubt, even for a moment, that the publication of the Goldstone Report is a Holocaust-like event in the ever-traumatic life of Zionist-Jews (more or less properly claimed to be represented by Israel, which even more broadly claims to be the mouthpiece — apologies to lawyers, everywhere — for “the Jewish People” — even if not Zionist (if that is possible!)).

      This lawsuit is an instrument wielded in the service of power, to be sure, but also aiming to reinforce and amplify the ever-serviceable sense of injury — like a perpetually open sore — of the Zionists, who believe that this particular perpetually open sore has done no wrong and who object to the Goldstone Report for suggesting otherwise.

    • Danity says:

      What a joke. Lawsuit happy. Here is another crazy one I read today:

      Facebook sued for $1 billion over Intifada page

      WASHINGTON (AFP) – Facebook and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg have been hit with a lawsuit seeking more than $1 billion in damages over a page on the social network which called for a “Third Intifada” against Israel.

      Facebook this week shut down the “Third Intifada” page, which had almost 500,000 fans, but the lawsuit filed in a court here claims that the social network showed “negligence” by not quickly responding to appeals to remove the page.

      Besides awarding damages, the complaint calls on the court to bar Facebook “from allowing the Facebook page titled ‘Third Palestinian Intifada,’ and other related and similar sites, which advocate violence and death to Jews.”

      The suit, a copy of which was obtained by technology blog TechCrunch, was filed in DC Superior Court by Larry Klayman, who describes himself in the complaint as “an American citizen of Jewish origin” who is “active in matters concerning the security of Israel and all people.”

      Klayman also identifies himself as the founder of Freedom Watch, whose website describes it as a political advocacy group dedicated to protecting privacy, free speech and other rights and “our national sovereignty against the incompetent, terrorist state-controlled United Nations.”

      On Thursday, Larry Klayman, a Washington, D.C., lawyer, sued Facebook and Mark Zuckerber for $1 billion in damages. Facebook’s offense? Failing to shut down the “Third Intifada” Facebook page sooner than it did. Since Klayman, is “known to be a strong supporter of Israel, and has been called a ‘Zionist’ publicly by radical Palestinians and other such Arabic interests,” argued a breathless press release issued by Klayman, “Mr. Klayman is thus a target of this call to kill Jews.”

      “The complaint alleges assault and negligence,” it continued, “including willful and wanton conduct, gross negligence and recklessness on the part of the Defendants, as it has put Mr. Klayman’s life at risk, as well as other similarly situated Jews who are prominent public figures and otherwise.”…

      …Klayman had managed to become a regular on programs like Crossfire, Rivera Live, and The Charles Grodin Show, by the late ’80s. Also, he is the author of a book called Whores. (Klayman, asked to comment for this post, responded to an email that identified this publication only with the words “Who are u with?”)

      link to news.yahoo.com

      link to fastcompany.com

      • Jim Haygood says:

        [Klayman's] complaint calls on the court to bar Facebook “from allowing the Facebook page titled ‘Third Palestinian Intifada.’

        Klayman identifies himself as the founder of Freedom Watch, whose website describes it as a political advocacy group dedicated to protecting privacy, free speech …’

        So Freedom Watch ‘protects free speech’ … except on topics it disapproves of, such as anti-zionist speech.

        Both the Danny Danon and the Larry Klayman lawsuits exhibit tendentiousness — a demand for exceptionalism and special privilege (immunity from criticism) for Israel and zionism. These suits only serve to highlight their selfish special pleading, and lack of commitment to equal protection of the law for everyone.

        Need an attorney? Don’t hire these pettifogging hacks!

  4. Kathleen says:

    “. The truth is that the Report is more alive than ever. The ferocious debate ignited by Judge Goldstone’s Op-Ed has demonstrated that the world refuses to forget those 22 days in the winter of 2008-2009, when Israel pummeled the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1300 people, including over 300 children. ”

    Bingo. Thank you for all you folks do for justice and this incredible site

  5. annie says:

    the true legacy of the Report is the way that it reconfigured the world’s understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Goldstone Report helped “to reframe the Israeli-Palestinian debate around the world,” the LA Times editorialized. Instead of a superficial political debate about a stagnant peace process, the Goldstone Report introduced the concepts of international law and human rights into the discourse.

    so true! another excellent post adam!

    this site is amazing.

  6. jon s says:

    According to the IDF , the figures for Palestinian killed during Cast Lead are as follows:
    The total: 1166
    out of which:
    709 -operatives of Hamas and other combatants
    162 – unclear
    295 – civilians , including 49 women and 89 children (under 16)

    I’m not belittling those figures. 89 dead chidren is bad enough, but there’s no need to come up with “over 300″.

    This afternoon the Hamas deliberately fired an anti-tank rocket at a school bus inside Israel , an unmistakeable yellow school bus. In other words : an attempt to massacre schoolchildren. Luckily only one boy was still on the bus, he’s in the hospital , seriously injured and the doctors are fighting for his life.

    • Avi says:

      jon s April 7, 2011 at 3:05 pm
      I’m not belittling those figures. 89 dead chidren is bad enough, but there’s no need to come up with “over 300″.

      In other news, less than eight (8) thousand Jews were killed during WWII. The Holocaust is an exaggeration.

      I’m not belittling those figures. 8000 dead Jews is bad enough, but there’s no need to come up with “over six million”.

      And you can’t argue with those figure seeing as they came directly from German archives.

      • Chaos4700 says:

        Remind me again why Phil Weiss lets this jon s. cretin write articles for the blog?

        • jon s says:

          Chaos, there was a total of 1 (one) article, my experience during Cast Lead, as part of the “Two Years Later” series.

        • Shingo says:

          Remind me again why Phil Weiss lets this jon s. cretin write articles for the blog?

          To give him enough rope to hang himself. He is a post Zionist you know.

    • Donald says:

      “’m not belittling those figures. 89 dead chidren is bad enough, but there’s no need to come up with “over 300″.”

      As Avi points out, you are belittling the figures by using the statistics supplied by the force that did the killing. In what bizarre universe would anyone take the word of the military force responsible for the number of civilians they killed?

      Hamas operative is a propaganda term, whether from Hamas or hasbarists. A member of Hamas is not a legitimate military target unless he or she is engaged in hostilities.

      I’m going to read more about the school bus attack in a few minutes, but it is despicable and the persons responsible are criminals who tried to murder children.

      • Avi says:

        Betselem, and the UN report have already provided data that states that about 348 children were killed by Israel during its 22 day attack on Gaza in 2009.

        Yet, Jon S., the intellectual infant that he is, comes along and peddles false Israeli military information, as though he didn’t know or hasn’t heard yet that Israel slaughtered that many Palestinian children.

        I’m going to read more about the school bus attack in a few minutes, but it is despicable and the persons responsible are criminals who tried to murder children.

        Why bother?

        These Zionists have been spamming the website with their incessant cries of But, what about Palestinian attacks? and Do you condemn this? Do you condemn that? What about that, do you condemn that? How about this, do you condemn this?

        As though there is any comparison between Israel and the Palestinians, as though the parties involved are on equal footing, as though the conflict is one between equals.

        It isn’t.

        So, why get bogged down in these tit-for-tat details that Israel and its hacks routinely use to divert attention from the ONGOING occupation, siege and brutality?

        And if these hacks are looking for condemnations of Hamas and other Palestinians they can find such condemnations in the mainstream Israel-friendly media.

        It’s not Mondoweiss’ job to provide a platform for Israel and its defenders to peddle their victimhood.

        • Well said, Avi. The usual intellectually challenged ziobots, who love to ‘demand’ and make false assertions.

        • jon s says:

          I ought to compile a lexicon of the names Avi has called me: moron, shmuck, … and now “intellectual infant” (which is , in comparison ,not too bad…) . I’ve come to expect them…

        • Shingo says:

          So, why get bogged down in these tit-for-tat details that Israel and its hacks routinely use to divert attention from the ONGOING occupation, siege and brutality?

          I don’t even think it’s that pre meditated to be honest Avi. I just think these Ziobots are simply tone deaf.

          I recall that while the flotilla massacre was being reported here, almost in real time, there was one clown who was harping on about anti Semitic material being taught in schools etc. I simply told the guy to F off because he just wasn’t getting it. He was just trapped inside his hermetically sealed Ziobubble obsessed with nasty cartoons.

        • Avi says:

          jon s April 8, 2011 at 1:13 am

          I ought to compile a lexicon of the names Avi has called me: moron, shmuck, … and now “intellectual infant” (which is , in comparison ,not too bad…) . I’ve come to expect them…

          That’s because they fit you to a T.

          You are more about propaganda than substance. Instead of answering for your historical revisionism which denies the death of several hundred people, you are busy playing the indignant, the victim. And if it’s not you who’s the victim, then it’s Israel and if it’s not Israel then it’s Jews the world over.

          Enough with the extortion.

        • jon s says:

          Avi, I’ll leave it up to the intelligent readers of Mondoweiss to determine who endeavors to write on-topic, while maintaining a civil tone, and who repeatedly resorts to personal insults and name-calling.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          And how persuasive do you really think you are to liberal North Americans and Europeans when you use an attack on a school bus as justification to level a whole school? Or do you consider your target audience to be people like hophmi and yonira? Rather preaching to the choir, there.

    • CTuttle says:

      Jon S, do you realize that the Israeli ‘response’ to that atrocious attack today killed 5 Palestinians and wounded 40 others…?

      Sounds like an even trade, eh…? 8-(

      • jon s says:

        I’m not interested in “even trade”, I’m interested in the restoration of peace and quiet on both sides. I would expect the IDF to retaliate against those who fired at civilians, and to try to prevent and deter future attacks.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          The problem is, jon, your idea of “retaliation” is to slaughter a whole graduating class of police officers, level the Palestinian parliament building, gun down ambulances and set fire to the main warehouse of UN relief supplies in response to three guys with a glorified pipe bomb on a bottle rocket left a pock mark in a parking lot.

        • eljay says:

          >> I would expect the IDF to retaliate against those who fired at civilians, and to try to prevent and deter future attacks.

          Would you also expect the Palestinians to retaliate against those who fire at civilians? And would you also expect the Palestinians to try to prevent and deter future attacks?

          Or do you, like RW, bestow these privileges only upon Israel and not the Palestinians?

        • jon s says:

          Chaos, Imagine if yesterday the Hamas had “succeeded ” in scoring a direct hit on the school bus when it was full of kids…what would have been the appropriate retaliation?
          Over 8000 rockets fired, hardly “three guys with a glorified pipe bomb”… The rockets are lethal.

        • tree says:

          I would expect the IDF to retaliate against those who fired at civilians, and to try to prevent and deter future attacks.

          Since the IDF’s “retaliation” has killed many Palestinian civilians, I don’t see how it is any different than the attack on the school bus, other than being more lethal. And yet you “expect that” and don’t seem to mind very much at all when it is Palestinian civilians that are killed. You only get incensed at Israeli civilian deaths. That’s your problem. You want everyone else to be sympathetic to the deaths on the Israeli side but you either discount or rationalize the much greater deaths of Palestinians. And you ignore the underlying root cause of the conflict, since it is Israel that is at ultimate fault there.

          That’s what Avi is trying to get you to see, and you are refusing to notice. Until more Israelis see what they have done and continue to do, the violence will continue. Until Israelis can understand that Palestinians are their equals as human beings, they will continue to oppress and dehumanize the Palestinians. Only breaking free from that mindset will set you free and allow for a just settlement and peace for all.

        • Woody Tanaka says:

          “what would have been the appropriate retaliation?”

          Under international law, there is no difference between the acceptable actions taken if there were no civilians hurt or if the bus was full of kids. Thankfully, there were not. But if there were, Israel’s obligations under international law wouldn’t change.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          I’m interested in the restoration of peace and quiet on both sides.

          In that case, jon, you need to call up the IDF and tell them to accept Hamas’s ceasefire offers. Ceasing fire is the way to get peace and quiet. Retaliation is the way to get more retaliation.

          Face it, Israel is more interested in its “deterrence” than in peace, even if this costs the lives of more Israelis.

        • jon s says:

          Tree, I believe that all people are equal as human beings, never said anything different.
          Yesterday Hamas terrorists put a yellow school bus in their cross-hairs and fired, scoring a direct hit. If the IDF would do something like that I would be just as outraged , actually more.

        • jon s says:

          The Hamas have come up with a two-step tactic: 1. fire a rocket at a school bus . 2. immediately propose a ceasefire.
          How stupid do they think we are?

        • tree says:

          If the IDF would do something like that I would be just as outraged , actually more.

          Number one, the IDF has done things like that on a much greater scale for a much longer time. They’ve shot children, fired tank shells at children, dropped bombs on children, dropped white phosphorus on children. They’ve also arrested children in the middle of the night, held children for long periods without charge, tortured children, and forced children to collaborate. Why haven’t you even noticed this? Selective sight?

          Number two, from your posting history here its apparent that you would NOT be just as outraged, but would make excuses for what was done, and diminish what was done. Just the other day you wanted to take the IDF’s word for Gaza casualties over those of independent groups such as Btselem. I understand your desire to believe that the IDF is a moral army, but you shouldn’t shut your eyes to things just because they don’t conform to what you fervently WANT to believe.

          Tree, I believe that all people are equal as human beings, never said anything different.

          Then why do you believe in the moral superiority of the IDF when its clearly done many more heinous acts than Hamas has ever don? And why have you excused IDF”retaliation” that has killed more civilians than the act by the rocket launchers that has caused you so much outrage?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          I love it how “Hamas” has become the polite code switch for “those dirty savage Arabs.” Did Hamas fire that rocket?

          Bathtubs are lethal too. But you know what kills even more civilians? Using a jet to drop a bomb on a police academy while the graduation ceremony is taking place.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          The IDF is really stupid, because it never listens to Hamas’s ceasefire offers.

        • eee says:

          The people who are really stupid are the Hamas and the Palestinians who support them as their strategy brings even more suffering to them and does not bring them one iota closer to their goals.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Meanwhile the Israeli goal of slaughtering Palestinians wholesale and expanding the “Jewish” empire, and assassinating anyone who stands in the way (Turkish activists, American activists, UN personnel…) has turned people like eee quite a profit!

    • “709 -operatives of Hamas and other combatants”
      How cute! No really..I’m pretty sure the graduating cadets slaughtered during the graduation ceremony were counted in as operatives or combatants.
      Also, to state the IDF as a source for the victims numbers is akin to citing a revisionist a la Faurisson for the exact number of the Holocaust victims..

      • Shingo says:

        .I’m pretty sure the graduating cadets slaughtered during the graduation ceremony were counted in as operatives or combatants.

        Yes, the actual number teh Hamas spokesman referred to as combatants as 200-300.

  7. VR says:

    Very upbeat article, and absolutely true – it is our report. The only question that remains is – who has the power to implement the report? Is it the people? Good factual report though.

    • VR says:

      Apparently no one wants to address the problem (no reply, I am surprised…), it goes a bit deeper than merely being “our report.” So it changes how the situation will be viewed in the I-P conflict, that is a good thing, and then… Those in power, and the people they appoint (see post about Rice below by Miriam) have no intention of letting the report get any further, like say for instance – to the ICC, and if it does it will be killed by the US in the Security Council.

      Where it goes (this whole scenario) to is the position of the people, with a group in power (nothing new) that does not recognize who they are supposed to represent. Virtually anyone who reads this report without bias cannot just dismiss its content, you have to be a reprobate to dismiss the content. The real issue is that those in power have been allowed to do what they please with impunity and there is no check in the body politic. So, just like these people who have the ear of power try to assail the report from all different directions, we have to support it from all directions. That is about as far as you can go if you want to work within this “system,” and it is always skewed because those individuals who oppose the report are on the inside and we are on the outside looking in. There is a difference between those who are close to the seat of power, and those who are not.

      What we are going to have to ask ourselves is, are we satisfied with this one sided seesaw ride which always eventually gravitates to the few, and if we are not what are we going to do about it? The garbage can is filled with every idea of reform known to man, and the people always end up in the same position eventually – on the bottom. It is time to think and act differently, and for us to understand that those in power are not our friends. If you don’t understand the marriage between what I am saying and what condition we find ourselves in with seeing this report implemented for the betterment of the oppressed Palestinians, than do not expect anything significant to transpire.

  8. Miriam says:

    As Operation Scorching Summer by IDF in Gaza continues with mention on any news wires…we continue to discuss/debate what Judge Goldstone “really” meant when he appeared to backtrack in his oped in WP last Sunday. Next time, and there will be a next…they’ll just hire someone more “flexible” than Goldstone was….since he really did not rescind his report…he only seemed to regret…but not retract. That’s why the law suit, I guess.
    (speaking of Goldstone)… from JTA :
    link to jta.org
    Rice: Goldstone report should simply ‘disappear’
    April 7, 2011
    WASHINGTON (JTA) — Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, says the Goldstone report is probably beyond fixing and should simply disappear.
    Rice, speaking to a hearing Thursday of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, was reacting to congressional calls on Richard Goldstone to amend the 2009 report on the Gaza War that was based on an investigation of a panel convened by the U.N. Human Rights Council.

    The panel, chaired by Goldstone, concluded that Israel had targeted civilians as a matter of policy. Goldstone, a former South African judge, recently withdrew that conclusion.

    “I’m not sure it can be amended,” Rice said of the report. “What we want to see is for it to disappear and no longer be a subject of discussion and debate in the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly or beyond.”

    Rice has led the effort to stymie the advance of the report through the U.N. system.

    • Shingo says:

      Susan Rice is turning out to be quite teh dragon lady of intenational diplomacy. I suspect she’ll be offered Hillary’s job of Obama remains for a second term.

  9. MRW says:

    Now we’ve all seen through the Israeli government’s excuses
    If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn’t Israel swap an F-16 for some?

    By Mark Steel
    First published in The Independent on 21st January 2009
    .
    The worrying part about whether the ceasefire in Gaza can hold together will be whether the international community can stop the flow of arms to the terrorists. Because Israel’s getting their planes and tanks and missiles from somewhere and until this supply is cut off there’s every chance it could start up again.
    .
    The disregard for life from these terrorists and their supporters is shocking. For example Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist, wrote that the purpose of the Israeli attack must be to “inflict a heavy death toll and heavy pain on the Gaza population”.
    .
    Replace “Gaza” with “western”, and that could have been written by al-Qa’ida. Maybe this is the problem: the Israelis are writing their policies by downloading statements from an Islamic Jihad website and just changing the place names. Also, if the Israelis think the Hamas rockets are as lethal as they say, why don’t they swap their F-16 fighters and Apache helicopters for a few of them?
    .
    These things are capable of terrorising a whole nation for years apparently, yet the Israelis have neglected to buy any, wasting their money on gunboats and stuff. Given that their annual arms budget is $7.2bn plus $2.2 bn in “aid”, they’d save enough to buy a selection of banks in every country in the world.
    .
    The military advantages would be enormous because the Israelis’ complaint about Hamas is the use of tunnels to smuggle arms. But if Israel gave Hamas a few planes and tanks and helicopters, they could probably be persuaded to shut down those tunnels that seem to be the cause of such bad feeling.
    .
    Whatever you say about Israel, at least it moves its weapons about legally – except for when it secretly built a nuclear arsenal against an array of international agreements. But they did it above ground and not in a tunnel and that’s the main thing. [...]

    • VR says:

      Yes MRW I Understand what he is saying (If the Hamas rockets are so lethal, why doesn’t Israel swap an F-16 for some?). It has been suggested before –

      GIVE US YOUR BOMBERS

    • Golden Rule says:

      My daughter’s 7th grade science class could create a more ‘lethal’ rocket than the qassam, but that isn’t the point. Each rocket or mortar etc fired into Israel is an act of war and also a war crime.

      Are you guys reading what that moron wrote above? Hey Israel why don’t you give a group of terrorist weapons that will kill your citizens, so it’ll be a ‘fair’ fight. That is complete idiocy! I have a better idea, Hamas you can’t win, your rockets are crap, quit using human shields and trying to blow up school buses!

      • Woody Tanaka says:

        “My daughter’s 7th grade science class could create a more ‘lethal’ rocket than the qassam, but that isn’t the point. Each rocket or mortar etc fired into Israel is an act of war and also a war crime.”

        That is not true. (I’m talking “war crime”; the idea of debating what is or is an “act of war” in this conflict, after generations of occupation is almost quaint.) The Palestinians are well entitled to use weapons against military targets. The only way your statement would be true is if there were no valid military targets in Israel, which is simply false.

        “Are you guys reading what that moron wrote above? Hey Israel why don’t you give a group of terrorist weapons that will kill your citizens, so it’ll be a ‘fair’ fight. ”

        Wow, the point REALLY went over your head, didn’t it?

      • Chaos4700 says:

        My daughter’s 7th grade science class could create a more ‘lethal’ rocket than the qassam, but that isn’t the point.

        And here they are! (Just kidding, that’s not Rule’s daughter. Obviously that’s a much younger grade of Israelis signing those “gift baskets” to the grade schools of Lebanon and Gaza.)

  10. CTuttle says:

    Mahalo, Adam, Phil, and, Lizzy for posting this at FDL too…!

    Btw, isn’t it reassuring to hear our UN Envoy vow to ‘disappear’ the report at the UN…?

    • bijou says:

      Despicable.

    • Kathleen says:

      Hey great that they (Rayne, Jane) let you through over there. Hope I was helpful in encouraging pushing for more over there. Just went through the comments which demonstrate people over there are hungry for some real dialogue over there on this issue. But Jane Hamsher and Marcy Wheeler generally if not close to always avoid this issue.

      Let’s hope that at them time Chris Matthews, Diane Rehm or one of those folks will have Phillip, Adam and LIzzy on their programs to discuss their book and this site.

      Please contact both programs and make a request
      link to hardblogger.msnbc.msn.com

      Send in a request
      Contact form
      link to thedianerehmshow.org

    • “Btw, isn’t it reassuring to hear our UN Envoy vow to ‘disappear’ the report at the UN…?”
      I despise this individual! Not hatred, just scorn!

  11. MRW says:

    The damage from a Qassam rocket (from The Israel Project):
    link to is.gd

    Sderot victims
    link to is.gd

    Sderot resident’s house hit by a Qassam rocket, Feb. 9, 2008 link to is.gd

    Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman with Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak at Sderot Police Station’s Qassam Collection.
    link to is.gd

  12. “Further information as a result of domestic investigations could lead to further reconsideration”

    Is slightly different than “I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”

    Both accurate quotes from the interview, with very different interpretations.

  13. Somewhat OT:
    A report in Al Jazeera this morning shows a new offensive against the Palestinian people under occupation that is disturbing. Now women are being rounded up, detained and genetic samples taken in a mass trawl, ostensibly looking for the criminals who eliminated an occupying family in the illegal settlement of Itamar. Just how this is not a gross violation of personal dignity for the Palestinian culture, or any other for that matter, is beyond reckoning.

    link to english.aljazeera.net

  14. NickJOCW says:

    There us one objective and one only, to establish a Jewish state in all Palestine and it has been pursued with various ups and downs since around 1550 BC when monotheist nomads crossed the river and levelled Jericho. The indigenous population resist the encroachments as they ever did and they are dealt with as they ever were. The only way they could be stopped is by force but even then they would be back in time. Debates about human rights or UN investigations simply catalogue progress. That is all there is to it. Here I illustrate it with a picture and two quotes: link to njow.co.uk

    The most humanitarian solution might be to let Israel take over the whole area since they have all but done it anyway and the see how the mix pans out in time.

  15. Kathleen says:

    What rights does Hamas have to protect and defend internationally recognized Palestinian land? Say for instance in the West Bank. Can the Palestinians legally use force, weapons to push illegal settlers off their lands? Israel uses force all of the time. Why not Palestinians?

    • Sumud says:

      Kathleen ~ As per the 1977 Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions (Part 1, Article 1, Section 4) it is legitimate for “peoples” to engage in armed conflict “against colonial domination and alien occupation and against racist regimes in the exercise of their right of self-determination…”

      Participants in such a conflict have the same obligations to the Geneva Conventions as does any state engaged in a war. Occasionally I read here at MW that Palestinians have the right to resist by any means necessary, which is not legally the case.

    • jon s says:

      Kathleen, all people have the right to defend themselves, including Palestinians and Israelis, but that does not include a right to resort to terror against civilians. Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas terrorists, when apprehended, have the right to a fair trial.

      • annie says:

        Hamas terrorists, when apprehended, have the right to a fair trial.

        they do? where? in israel? are you telling all those prisoners israel is holding have a right to a fair trial? you’re crazy, they don’t have human rights in israel, they’re palestinians.

      • Sumud says:

        jon s – could you please define “terror”? Could you tell me what makes Hamas a “terrorist organisation”? Please, something a little more thoughtful than ‘because the US State Department says so’.

        • jon s says:

          Sumud, I’m using the conventional, textbook, definition : the deliberate targetting of innocent civilians.
          The events of the last couple of days – including today – are good examples: a rocket fired at a school bus, scores of rockets fired at the civilian population.

        • annie says:

          the deliberate targetting of innocent civilians.

          whereas when israel killed a mother and her child 2 days ago they didn’t ‘deliberately’ target her (because they are presumably moral!) ? yeah right i think if i had to choose i’d rather be deliberately targeted by hamas verse being non deliberately targeted by israel. my chances of survival would be 100 times greater.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          But not, say, dropping a bomb on a hospital? Firing a tank shell into an apartment building? Showering a UN-run school with white phosphorous?

      • MRW says:

        jon s

        Hamas is a legally elected government. The fact that the USA and Israel characterize it as a terrorist organization does not have the force of law.

        Neither does your opinion, so talk about apprehending Government officials and trying them in Israel (another country, according to Israel) is a bizarre and ridiculous notion.
        ==============

        Kathleen, Sumud

        You might be interested in this (he wrote it around the time of Mavi Marmara, but it is germane to this discussion):
        link to craigmurray.org.uk

  16. jon s says:

    Of course they do.

    • annie says:

      are you talking to me jon, wrt ‘fair trial’? jury of their peers no doubt!

      • jon s says:

        Annie, No, Israel doesn’t have a jury system. The judicial system is built differently, with professional judges.
        Perhaps you should visit Israel, and the Palestinian territories, and see things for yourself.

        • annie says:

          i have visited jon. the WB, gaza and israel.

          The judicial system is built differently, with professional judges.

          hmm. i recall listening to a palestinian panelist (i think it was Ziad Abbas but it may have been the panelist next to him) talk about his ‘trial’. everything was predetermined, the prisoners call it ‘going to the theatre’. i suggest reading some Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt to get a sense of what israel’s apartheid justice system is like for the other 1/2 of the population.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Has anyone else noticed that Israelis are constantly demanding EVERYBODY visit Israel? Are you guys getting that desperate for tourism? Or are you just using that as a slur, i.e. “You have no right to say something if you haven’t visited!” and then you’re counting on Israeli customs to humiliate and “deport” people for whom Israel has “intel” that they are “hostile” to Israeli interests (such as human rights activists or independent journalists).

    • David Samel says:

      jon, get real. Israel presumes the “right” to carry out summary “targeted executions” of anyone it deems kill-worthy in the WB and Gaza. The sentence is handed down in secret with no opportunity to defend oneself. Anyone in the immediate vicinity of the target is subject to sudden death without warning (though the killers’ hearts are saddened by the death of innocents). It is true that Israel has arrested many more than it has killed – since the occupation began, in the hundreds of thousands. Some of those arrested have been afforded a military “trial” which has a ridiculously high, near-certainty conviction rate. For you to call this situation the right to a fair trial is obscene.

      • jon s says:

        OK, I think that I’ve been partially misunderstood on this thread.
        I’m well aware of the iniquities of Israel’s military justice system, which often seems to prove that “military justice” is an oxymoron. The point I was trying to make was that terrorists, when taken alive, should have a fair trial.
        Once again we’ve seen what kind of despicable terrorists the Hamas are: firing at a school bus, targetting civilians . I spent a few minutes last night, with my family , in our “security room”. As usual, they’re using their own people as human shields.
        Chaos, I didn’t “demand” that people visit here, and don’t worry about the tourism industry, which has just had it’s best year ever, to the point where there’s a problem of insufficient hotel rooms. I just think that it’s a good idea for involved people to try to see things for themselves, and to be exposed to both sides.
        Annie, I’m glad to know that you’ve been here. Some day I would like to hear your impressions.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          There are dozens of people who were injured in Gaza before this thing with the school bus even happened.

          You don’t give two shits about the Palestinians, at all, do you?

        • annie says:

          I spent a few minutes last night, with my family , in our “security room”. As usual, they’re using their own people as human shields.

          i’ve often had the same notions about those schools too. why do they place them within range of the border? one might think it would occur to them to place them on the opposite side of town out of reach of the imprisoned gazans. no? it’s not as if they don’t have options where to place the schools inside israel. why put the schoolyard within shooting range of the rockets if you have alternatives?

          my impressions of israel are scattered around this site in my comments. i met some amazing people there who were massively plugged into reality, and other in total denial. the landscape was breathtaking and earth shattering at the same time. there were large swaths of land in parts of the country they could have placed those ‘settlements’ instead of inside the portion of palestine yet to be colonized but i’m sure you know that.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          So jon, you believe that Gazan children who go to school every day on Palestinian land (even at UN facilities…) are “human shields,” and thus valid military targets… whereas a settler family in Itamar on Palestinian land are not “human shields?”

          The concept of human shields, is that you take civilians into contested areas and use them as cover. How does that describe Palestinians who are living on their own land and not your people who are taking Palestinian land with population transfers?

          You can’t decry what happened to the settler’s children as murder (WHICH IT WAS) and then exonerate soldiers who deliberately murder Palestinian children who haven’t been deliberately moved into the line of fire by their parents like Israeli children.

          Overall? Read the Geneva Conventions. Please. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Obviously you’ve never read them.

        • jon s says:

          The Hamas terrorists now have long-range rockets , capable of reaching places pretty far from the border. But that’s not the point. We should be able to locate our schools and other civilian facilities wherever we see fit within Israel , without being threatened by terrorists. Palestinians also have the right to live in peace.

        • Its wierd when people that claim that they seek peace and/or justice, advocate for the justness of targeting civilians.

          A fucking school bus. It was luck that there were only two adults in it at the time.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          See, Witty, when you said the Israeli military was justified in blowing up hospitals and schools in Gaza, that was my reaction to you.

          When you said the IDF was justified in killing a 19-year-old Turkish American citizen, not to mention eight other people and subjecting hundreds more to what amounted to kidnapping on the high seas, that was my reaction to you.

          And now that you’re claiming to have that reaction to me, I just have one question:

          Where the hell did I say it was okay to blow up a school bus, you libelous bastard?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          But that’s not the point.

          Well at least now your copping to the fact that you’re engaging in little more than scare-mongery and going off topic to justify violence against Palestinian civilians.

        • jon s says:

          Interesting that you claim to know what I believe. When did I ever say that Gazan children are “valid military targets”? The Hamas terrorists use schools, mosques , UN facilities and residential areas as launching sites, thus endangering the nearby civilian population.

        • eee says:

          Chaos,

          Was shooting the school bus with an accurate weapon (an anti-tank weapon) and seriously injuring a teenager terrorism or not? Were Hamas justified in doing this? Should the Hamas leadership be accused of war crimes for this?

          I am not hoping for a straight answer because you are no able to give one, but let’s get the questions on the table.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          The Hamas terrorists use schools, mosques , UN facilities and residential areas as launching sites, thus endangering the nearby civilian population.

          Or so Israeli propaganda repeats and repeats and repeats the lie.

          And so they also brand legitimate military resistance as terrorism. It gets SO OLD.

          btw, jon, do you know where Israel puts its military installations and launching sites? Near Arab villages, thus endangering the nearby Arab civilian population.

        • Hostage says:

          Was shooting the school bus with an accurate weapon (an anti-tank weapon) and seriously injuring a teenager terrorism or not?

          The answer is quite obviously yes. Israel has circumvented the machinery of international law that could have prevented the incident from happening in the first place or brought the responsible individuals to justice:

          Persons responsible for committing war crimes by the firing of shells and rockets into civilian areas without any apparent military advantage should be apprehended or prosecuted. This applies to Palestinians who fire Qassam rockets into Israel; and more so to members of the IDF who have committed such crimes on a much greater scale. While individual criminal accountability is important, the responsibility of the State of Israel for the violation of peremptory norms of international law in its actions against the Palestinian people should not be overlooked.

          .
          The international community has identified three regimes as inimical to human rights – colonialism, apartheid and foreign occupation. Israel is clearly in military occupation of the OPT. At the same time elements of the occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law. What are the legal consequences of a regime of prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid for the occupied people, the occupying Power and third States? It is suggested that this question might appropriately be put to the International Court of Justice for a further advisory opinion.

          .
          The Occupied Palestinian Territory is the only instance of a developing country that is denied the right of self-determination and oppressed by a Western-affiliated State. The apparent failure of Western States to take steps to bring such a situation to an end places the future of the international protection of human rights in jeopardy as developing nations begin to question the commitment of Western States to human rights.

          See A/HRC/4/17, 29 January 2007

          There is no way to end the impunity enjoyed by Hamas without addressing the role played by Israel in this sorry affair. You aren’t going to distract anyone here with “finger pointing”. Reprisals are always illegal, especially when they are directed toward civilians. That’s because civilians aren’t the guilty parties to begin with. Read your own newspapers and count the number of times the IDF spokesmen say that Israel has launched a “reprisal”. Then remember that each one of those is a war crime.

        • eljay says:

          >> There is no way to end the impunity enjoyed by Hamas without addressing the role played by Israel in this sorry affair.

          Zio-supremacists continue to gloss over the incredibly obvious fact that the Israel is engaged in ON-GOING aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction and murder. The Israel is not innocent. The Israel is not “minding its own business”. The Israel is not a victim, but an aggressor against whom the victims are retaliating.

          The Israel needs to address its aggression before it can believably justify its victimhood.

        • Golden Rule says:

          Don’t forget cemeteries Jon S. There is good footage of terrorists using a cemetery for launching rockets circulating around twitter right now.

          I have a feeling Israel will use their drone footage of launches from many locations now because this has become a PR war just as much as a military war. I wonder what the Hamasniks will say once we have footage of them using civilian locations as launching points. Which is of course against the Geneva Convention, plus it gives Israel the right to bomb that area.

          Hamas should just stop now, their rockets are intercepted, their commanders are dead, and they can’t even successfully attack school buses anymore.

        • eee says:

          If trying to stop Hamas rockets is a “war crime” then international law is a sorry joke.

        • David Samel says:

          jon s, as someone who buys the all-purpose hiding-behind-civilians excuse trotted out at every opportunity by Israel, perhaps you could explain to me how it supposedly works. Your premise is that Hamas fires rockets, or shoots at Israeli soldiers, while “hiding” among civilians, resulting in casualties to those civilians . But how does that work in real life? Does Israel immediately fire back at the source of the rockets or gunfire? Does the IDF see the innocent civilians in the area but fire back anyway because killing the bad guys is worth killing the human shields? Or are the civilians killed accidentally because Israeli weapons are imprecise and sometimes miss their mark? Are the human shields volunteering themselves for protection or are they unwilling shields? Is there any evidence that the civilian population that supposedly is victimized by these tactics blames Hamas, along with or rather than Israel, for endangering their lives? And finally, when an armed force that routinely kills civilians explains such killing by blaming another party and absolving itself entirely, do you simply accept the killers’ excuse without subjecting it to the slightest scrutiny? If so, could I have you on my next jury?

          I’m getting a little tongue-in-cheek here, but I really am interested in your answers to the rest of my questions. I consider this hiding excuse to be transparently bogus, and I do not understand how someone who is intelligent enough to put together complete sentences, as you obviously are, can be so accepting of it, apparently out of a tribal identification with the killers. You’re not alone, and I really am curious as to what the true believers actually believe. Israel generally says three words – “hiding behind civilians” – and hordes of otherwise intelligent people nod their heads in agreement. Please explain.

        • Hostage says:

          this has become a PR war

          Nope, both sides have admitted it is a real international armed conflict to which the rules in IHL and IHRL apply. Neither, PR nor Hasbara constitute grounds for excluding criminal responsibility under Article 31 of the Rome Statute.

        • Hostage says:

          If trying to stop Hamas rockets is a “war crime” then international law is a sorry joke.

          Rule 1. War crimes do not stop Hamas rockets. Rule 2. Don’t try to change the subject by appealing to fallacies. Rule 3. Read rule 1.

        • eljay says:

          >> If trying to stop Hamas rockets is a “war crime” then international law is a sorry joke.

          You are a sorry joke.

          Stopping rockets is not a “war crime”.

          “Belligerent reprisals” undertaken by an aggressor-occupier-thief-colonizer-destroyer-murderer state in response to reprisals generated by offensive military actions it undertook (i.e., “started it”) could be – and probably should be – considered war crimes.

        • Golden Rule says:

          Hostage, Hamas rockets are war crimes.

        • Hostage says:

          Hostage, Hamas rockets are war crimes.

          Rockets flying to or from Gaza is definitely not a matter that is solely or essentially a matter of Israeli domestic jurisdiction. The use of guided weapons and mortars against IDF targets would not be a war crime. I noted (above) that attacks or reprisals directed at civilian targets would be a war crime.

          I noted above that Israel has circumvented the machinery of international law that could have prevented the incident from happening in the first place or brought the responsible individuals to justice. The UN Security Council has responsibility under Chapter VI & VII of the Charter for maintaining international peace and security. Israel has never permitted a Chapter VII peacekeeping force on its territory or referred the situation in southern Israel to the ICC.

        • eee says:

          David,

          Here is a Hamas video of them shooting rockets. How far are the rockets from the nearest house? 100ft? The people are unwilling shields. Almost any bomb you would shoot at those missiles will impact the houses and may kill people wandering outside the house.

          link to ynet.co.il

        • eee says:

          David,

          Here is an Israeli video showing missiles being fired from within a graveyard. Clearly an area that civilians are usually found.

          link to ynet.co.il

        • annie says:

          Clearly an area that civilians are usually found.

          really? then where were they in the video.

        • eee says:

          Ok Annie, people in Gaza do not visit graveyards. Seriously, if Israel fires at this graveyard, what would your headline be if not “Israel disrespects Palestinian graveyard” in the best case and “Israel kills mourners in graveyard” in the worst case.

        • Potsherd2 says:

          Dead ones, at least.

        • eee says:

          Yes Potsherd, Gaza is a miraculous place in which the dead come to the graveyard on their own and bury themselves. And of course, Palestinians never come to graveyards to visit graves.

        • Shingo says:

          Here is an Israeli video showing missiles being fired from within a graveyard. Clearly an area that civilians are usually found.

          They just happen to be dead.

        • Shingo says:

          Here is a Hamas video of them shooting rockets. How far are the rockets from the nearest house? 100ft?

          That would mean that a direct hit would not harm those civilians, seeing as the kill radius of a 500lb bomb is less than 100ft.

        • Shingo says:

          Ok Annie, people in Gaza do not visit graveyards.

          They would leave in a hurry of they saw a rocketg launcher in the vicinity.

        • eee says:

          “That would mean that a direct hit would not harm those civilians, seeing as the kill radius of a 500lb bomb is less than 100ft.”

          1) Bombs are never 100% accurate.
          2) Are you serious, you would think it safe to be 100ft from an exploding 500lb bomb? Just the crater these bombs make is 30-50 feet.

        • Shingo says:

          1) Bombs are never 100% accurate.

          They wouldn’t need to be.

          2) Are you serious, you would think it safe to be 100ft from an exploding 500lb bomb? Just the crater these bombs make is 30-50 feet.

          THen why are they using 500lb to hit such small targets?

          If the kill radius is 100ft, that means if you are inside your home, and your home is 100 feet away, you will probably survive.

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Gee, maybe you shouldn’t be dropping 500 lb bombs on HOSPITALS or SCHOOLS. How do you explain that, eee?

        • Chaos4700 says:

          Also, bookmark this you Zionist ass-hats because I don’t want to be asked twelve times.

          SHOOTING AT A SCHOOL BUS IS A CRIME. I don’t know where you twisted lackwits think ANYBODY here thinks that isn’t a crime.

          Are you so desperate to exonerate your own attacks on school children that you’re going to accuse us of doing EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO?

        • jon s says:

          David, I’ll try to answer. The Hamas terrorists use those civilian facilities as launching sites, arms depots, etc., thus endangering their own people. When theIDF launches counter-strikes there may be civilian casualties in the vicinity, and those facilities may be damaged or destroyed. That’s fine with the Hamas, they hope to exploit those casualties to score propaganda points . The Gazan civilian population resents this situation . We know of cases where the people in the neighborhood have pleaded with the Hamas to move away, but there’s not a lot they can do .
          I recall a report I heard after Cast Lead: An Israeli aircraft identifies, in real time, a launch from Gaza, towards the town of Ashkelon. The cameras on the aircraft zoom in : the launch site is a mosque. The Hamas crew on the site is seen preparing another launch. Now the IDF commander has a decision to make. His rules-of-engagement are clear: mosques, schools, hospitals , are off-limits…he can see the Hamas crew working fast…he estimates that he has something like 20 seconds…a report comes in that the first round hit a residential area in Ashkelon and there are civilian casualties…
          In the end the officer authorized the strike on the mosque. He figured that that mosque had lost its immunity. In the interview after the operation he said what caused him to make that decision was thinking about potential casualties of the Hamas rockets and how he would face families who lost loved ones, and try to explain why he didn’t prevent the attack.
          There’s also a rumor that during Cast Lead the Hamas established their operational hq in the basement of a hospital. The IDF found out , but let it go.
          I wonder how would you solve those dilemmas. Note that the Hamas have no such problems.

        • eee
          I don’t give a rodent’s derriere about “Hamas terrorism” because quite evidently the very unique root of the problem is the occupation. No occupation, no terrorism, as simple as that. You can play dumb as much as you please but for us who aren’t playing games and to whom it was made clear long time ago, this is the crux of the matter in the I/p “conflict”.

        • annie says:

          That’s fine with the Hamas, they hope to exploit those casualties to score propaganda points . The Gazan civilian population resents this situation . We know of cases where the people in the neighborhood have pleaded with the Hamas to move away, but there’s not a lot they can do .

          source? can you provide some links to back up each of these allegations.

          I recall a report I heard after Cast Lead: An Israeli aircraft identifies, in real time, a launch from Gaza, towards the town of Ashkelon. The cameras on the aircraft zoom in : the launch site is a mosque. The Hamas crew on the site is seen preparing another launch.

          please provide a link for this also, i’d like to read about it.

        • David Samel says:

          eee, I was unable to view the videos you linked, but no matter. I have seen videos of Palestinians firing things from populated areas. Nevertheless, I’ve never seen a video documenting an immediate Israeli response that is reasonably directed at gumen/launchers but “accidentally” or “collaterally” kills civilians. Remember that Israel claims that the large civilian casualty figures in Lebanon and Gaza are an unfortunate result of the Hamas (or Hezbollah) tactic of hiding behind civilians. The video evidence I have seen, and apparently you have linked to, does not support that claim. Moreover, you don’t even try to answer the specific questions I posed to jon.

          jon, neither do you. I did not ask for a slightly lengthier version of the hiding theory, still bereft of all details. I asked for those details, and you made no attempt to provide them. Does Israel strike back immediately, before the gunmen/rocket launchers have a chance to flee? No. Does Israel, which supposedly has video of the aggressive action being launched from a particular location, somehow not see that there are civilians in the area? Of course not. Does Israel fire back, knowing that civilians will die along with the targets, or are their weapons sometimes off by a little and strike nearby areas by accident? Who knows what the claim is.

          This is how I think it works in real life. Hamas and other armed groups fire rockets toward civilian areas, or weapons at IDF positions, from places where they can quickly hide. Because of the enormous weapons imbalance, if they drove out to an open field to do this work, they would probably be killed before they made it back to cover. Israeli soldiers, as you well know, do not take unnecessary risks on their lives either. Then, Israel decides to punish the civilian population living in the area for “allowing” the militants to operate there. The punishment may take place hours or days later, even longer sometimes. It doesn’t matter if the militants have long since fled. I’m not making this up. Israeli Gen. Eizenkot spelled it out in revealing the “Dahiya doctrine,” and similar pronouncements have been made by others as well.

          After a perfunctory first paragraph that studiously avoids answering my questions, you switch gears to a fairy tale of a report you heard about a difficult decision involved in firing on a mosque. Annie skeptically asked for a link. It sounds to me like it was manufactured by the Foreign Ministry. It also sounds suspiciously like the nonsensical ticking bomb theory used to justify torture. Both your story and the ticking bomb involve difficult scenarios that are highly hypothetical yet not physically impossible, that are then used to justify routine torture or firing at civilian areas. In fact, your story merely bolsters my claim that you are a reasonably intelligent guy who mystifyingly believes bullshit told by your side.

          btw, I too read a report of many instances in which Israel attacked civilians and civilian infrastructure without any military value, simply to punish the civilians. It’s far more credible than yours. Mine is called the Goldstone Report.

        • Hostage says:

          jon s

          You are talking about the IAF rocket attack on the al-Maqadmah mosque. The Goldstone mission investigated that and found no evidence that it was used as a weapons depot or for launching rockets. See paragraph 465 of the report.

          It would have taken a Grad multi-launcher or something larger to have reached Ashkelon. So, the mosque itself would not have housed the launcher or have “lost its immunity”.

          The Goldstone report details an incident where the IDF actually used the raised area of a mosque, from where the imam leads prayers, as a firing position to attack the Majdi Abd Rabbo family home and the houses next to it. The soldiers gave him a megaphone and instructed him to tell three armed members of the al-Qassam Brigades to come out of the house next door and surrender to the ICRC (although no ICRC members were ever present). The soldiers bombarded and leveled the homes. They kept sending Abd Rabbo and a military working dog in from time to time to check on the militia members until they were dead. So, people are naturally hesitant to volunteer their homes as defensive positions for fighting in built-up areas. Communal buildings, like mosques, are a natural alternative and inevitably get used for causality collection centers. Those usually will be defended from attacks.

          For example, most Americans have no trouble grasping the reasons why frightened French villagers hid US airborne forces in the local churches instead of their homes. The soldiers used churches for aid stations and their bell towers for lookout posts, while deploying in defensive fighting positions around the buildings and the adjacent cemeteries. See for example “D-Day: The Secret Massacre” the story of Graignes.

          So, while the Goldstone report admits that conducting hostilities in built-up areas does not, of itself, constitute a violation of
          international law, it may not accurately portray the situation when it concludes that launching attacks from areas adjacent to protected buildings constitutes a failure to take precautions. Hamas does not get to choose the location of the battlefield when Gaza itself gets invaded. The use of areas around cemeteries and mosques may be the only precaution that can be taken. A mosque or cemetery does not become a military objective simply because it is being defended. In the case you mentioned, there was no evidence the mosque was involved in any offensive operation.

        • jon s says:

          David, I agree with some of your points, and I am trying to answer, although my personal experiences scarcely qualify me as a military expert. (And thanks for the compliment: “reasonably intelligent” – I’m moving up in the world!)
          You ask how is it done. As far as I know, the IDF uses aircraft, including drones, to try to spot launches in real time. If the launch site is identified, the precise coordinates are calculated and a counter-strike (from aircraft or artillery) launched as swiftly as possible, hopefully killing the terrorists in the act or soon after. Of course the responsible officer can decide not to fire if there’s a significant danger to innocent civilians. That’s the theory, however, in the real world this is no exact science: lots of shit happens , especially in combat: sometimes you miss your target, or there’s a malfunction, or your intelligence was wrong, or the spotter said “range three six hundred” but you swear that he said “six three hundred” (and you haven’t slept for three days). Screw-ups happen all the time , just see how many IDF casualties were caused by “friendly fire”.
          The incident I described, I remember from a radio report, and it sounded authentic. Even if you don’t believe it, think of it as a “case study” or a simulation, try putting yourself in that officers place. I’ve also always thought the proverbial “ticking bomb” scenario is odious, simply an excuse to justify torture. And I also condemn any attack on civilians or civilian infrastructure without military value : it’s both morally wrong and counter- productive, and there’s no historical example I know of where people who were being bombed rose up against their government. The allies bombed the crap out of the Germans and Japanese, the Americans did the same to the Vietnamese, and no such uprisings occurred. If anything , people tend to rally round the regime.
          In a previous posting I posed a few questions, which I feel are relevant:

          1.Does the IDF take measures to minimize civilian casualties? If so –are those precautions adequate? Could more be done?
          2. How does the IDF compare on this score to other armed forces in other conflicts? (Such as the Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Russians in Chechnya and Georgia, NATO in former Yugoslavia…)
          3. What is the degree of responsibility of the Hamas for those civilian casualties, considering their deliberate and cynical strategy of trying to increase the number of civilian casualties on their own side, by using their own people as human shields?

          I’ve been asked to provide “proof” or sources, but I have a feeling that if the sources are Israeli, many on this forum automatically consider them bs. Nevertheless, see this: (you can disregard the stupid quote from Golda Meir!)

        • Shingo says:

          The Hamas terrorists use those civilian facilities as launching sites, arms depots, etc., thus endangering their own people.

          Jon, your arguments sound like they are lifted directly from the official Likud web site. There is virdtualy no eviendence to suport this other than allegations made by the IDF.

          I recall a report I heard after Cast Lead: An Israeli aircraft identifies, in real time, a launch from Gaza, towards the town of Ashkelon. The cameras on the aircraft zoom in : the launch site is a mosque.

          You recall hearing this froim where exactly Jon?

          There’s also a rumor that during Cast Lead the Hamas established their operational hq in the basement of a hospital.

          And that rumor started where Jon?

          The more comment here Jon, there more you reveal that you;ve given up on any attempt to question the propganda being fed to you or the inforamtion you are given.

          I think it’s fair to say that you are not a post Zionist at all, but a paleo Zionist.

  17. thanks for posting this excellent column. will show it to my students.

  18. Miriam says:

    I think that most who follow news about the M/E in US msm even knowledgeable folks are often caught short when trying understand “why is Hamas so violent?”…because there rarely if ever is any full blown news report that provides CONTEXT…so here’s a link to someone who has beautifully and comprehensively done just that…on their blog showing the lead up to the latest Israeli military assault on Gaza…it did not begin yesterday…please check out what lead up to it here:
    http://israelpalestinenews.wordpress.com
    with great appreciation to Alison Weir et al.

  19. piotr says:

    IDF has a lot of problems with justification of “civilian neighborhoods” as legitimate targets.

    The official line is that opponents “hide” behind civilians. But it is well documented that Israel fires at civilian neighborhoods that had nothing to do with any attack. For example, I do not recall any claims that any fire originated from Beirut neighborhoods. During last Lebanon war it seemed to me that one of the chief problems of IDF was that they expanded the list of targets so much that they did not concentrate on actual military targets, i.e. actual bunkers of Hezbollah.

    The second problems is very low frequency of true claims when the claims can be corroborated. Take the hijacked Abu Sisi. To the degree that his indictment can be independently checked, it is totally false (his study of rocket science in Ukraine under the tutelage of Kenny Petrovich.) Or a Palestinian women who died after tear gas inhalation and who was claimed in quick succession as being a victim of honor killing, leukemia, lung cancer, never close to the demonstration (that was actually true, because tear gas was spread in huge amount and quite away from the demonstration) to end with a rather feeble claim that superior Israeli medicine would save her (while the inferior Palestinian hospital did not).

    True to form, Israel accuses as terrorists and attackers persons who demonstrably are not. And they change the claims, for example, for several days Abu Sisi was basically one of Gilad Shalit jailers before becoming a mad scientist rocket genius (apparently, educated for that role by a cartoon character). I wonder what the future carrier of Abu Sisi will be.