One of the most important questions raised by the Goldstone Report is whether there was an intentional Israeli objective to destroy Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. As B’Tselem’s Executive Director Jessica Montell explained here in Mondoweiss:
We all know the extent of the destruction in Gaza: homes, mosques, schools, as well as infrastructure like chicken coops, flour mill, sewage treatment. B’Tselem has documented this – as well as the now most urgent problem that the siege still prevents rebuilding all that was destroyed. The more complicated issue is whether this destruction was systematic – i.e. willful, premeditated destruction of civilian targets with no military justification. Building this case depends not only on the extent of the damage and suffering, but on the motivations and objectives of the Israeli military.
Another Israeli organization has recently issued a report that aims to help with that very issue. The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel’s new report "No Second Thoughts: Changes in the IDF’s Combat Doctrine In Light Of ‘Operation Cast Lead’" covers similar ground to a segment of the Goldstone Report I posted recently, and demonstrates that Israeli military leadership spoke very openly about conducting a campaign of collective punishment in Gaza.
From the report’s summary:
The report, "No Second Thoughts: Changes in the IDF’s Combat Doctrine In Light Of ‘Operation Cast Lead’", demonstrates Israel’s application of a new combat doctrine during the hostilities in Gaza, which is based on two principles:
1. "Zero Casualties": The complete prioritization of avoiding IDF casualties while disregarding the increased risk to Palestinian civilians. The implementation of this policy is evident in the massive use of fire power, the use of white phosphorous weapons in densely populated areas, and in firing at Palestinians in the streets, with no discrimination between combatants and civilians, this even after the IDF would order the evacuation of residents from civilian homes.
2. "Dahiyah Doctrine": named after the residential Dahiyah district in Beirut, where the Hezbollah enjoyed support and also had its headquarters. The district was massively bombed by the IDF during the Second Lebanon War. The doctrine promotes targeting civilian infrastructure in order to cause widespread destruction and suffering among the civilian population so as to foment popular opposition to Israel’s opponents (namely Hamas and Hezbollah).
As a result of the implementation of these principles, the fighting in the Gaza Strip caused intentional and large-scale damage to civilian infrastructure as well as the killing of hundreds of non-combatant civilians (despite the absence of an official policy to intentionally kill civilians).
Read the full report after the jump: