Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

An open response to Judge Goldstone re the UN Mission's report on Gaza - Part 2

HOME
MISCELLANEOUS ARTICLES
INTERNATIONAL LAW
THE SAN REMO CONFEERENCE IN CONTEXT
THE GOLDSTONE MISSION TO GAZA 2009
THE OCCUPATION
GAZA and HAMAS
1948 ARAB-ISRAEL WAR
THE SIX-DAY WAR & RESOLUTION 242
BEHAVIOR OF ISRAELI SOLDIERS
DEIR YASSIN - startling evidence
1967 & ITS CONSEQUENCES
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES
WHAT SOME ARAB COMMENTATORS SAY
APARTHEID,ISRAEL & SOUTH AFRICA
LEBANON & HEZBOLLAH
HUMAN RIGHTS
ISLAMIC EXTREMISM
MEDIA DISTORTIONS
BOYCOTTS & DIVESTMENT
INCITEMENT
MEMORANDA TO UK PARLIAMENT
DOCUMENTS & ARTICLES
RECOMMENDED LINKS
THE ICJ & THE WALL
ACADEMIC FREEDOM
About Maurice Ostroff

Part 2 of an open response to Judge Goldstone and Mission Members

re the Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict

 

from Maurice Ostroff

 

September 22, 2009

 

Dear Judge Goldstone,

 

Human shields, dehumanization and methodology

 

Having read more of the Mission's report since sending part 1 of my open response, I respectfully suggest that it is incomplete and requires substantial editing and even revision before it can be accepted by the HRC.

 

I hope that, as a conscientious human being and eminent jurist, you will seriously consider these factors and accept that mistakes can be made by even the most well-intentioned persons. Because of the immensely serious consequences of your report, and the likelihood that existential decisions will be made based on its conclusions, I urge you to recall the report for further critical examination for the reasons I enumerate below.

 

In part 1 of my response I dealt extensively with the available evidence that has been ignored. I reiterate that, even if your mission disagrees with the credible evidence presented by authorities like Colonel Kemp and the fifteen eminent Australian lawyers, their views nevertheless deserve to be seriously considered and dealt with in detail. So, too, the facts contained in the video memoranda sent to you deserve to be investigated and reported on. These matters are much more worthy of consideration than some of the insignificant items that have received undue attention and taken up pages in the report.

 

At the very least, in the interests of transparency, the HRC and the public should not be deprived of the opportunity to evaluate the above information.

 

As it stands at present, the report - perhaps - fulfils the narrow mandate prescribed in OP14 of resolution S/9-1, which you criticized for its lack of balance. However, the report blatantly contradicts the worthy amendments to the resolution that you told us had been accepted. Below are a few examples of the many deficiencies that need to be corrected before the report can be considered as constructive and worthy of consideration.

 

Human shields

Paragraph 475 of the report states briefly that the Mission is aware of the public statement by Mr. Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, "... which is adduced as evidence of Hamas' use of human shields."

 

It is not clear what the word "adduced" means in this context. One must wonder at the reluctance to state unambiguously that Mr. Hammad declared proudly, as he did, that the Palestinians use human shields.

Although Mr. Hammad's precise words can be heard and read in translation in the video sent to you, your report states, "Mr. Hammad reportedly (the emphasis is mine) stated that the Palestinian people has developed its [methods] of death seeking. For the Palestinian people, death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the mujahideen excel and the children excel..This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahideen..."

 

In dealing with the above public statement the Mission acts as his defending counsel. The Report states, "Although the Mission finds this statement morally repugnant, it does not consider it to constitute evidence that Hamas forced Palestinian civilians to shield military objectives against attack" See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLFAJK5LtwY

 

The evidence of the use of human shields by Palestinians is strengthened by Paragraph 481 which states "... While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack."

 

Surely the HRC must insist that the authors explain the contradiction between paragraphs 475 and 481 as well as the actual content of the video clip.

 

See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rx-CW3UKoIg&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLFAJK5LtwY.

 

Dehumanization

During an interview on Al Jazeera TV, you emphasized that dehumanization of the other is the essential factor leading to horrific acts like genocide. It is therefore astonishing that this report ignores the daily incitement against infidels, Jews, and Israel that continues unabated in PA mosques and schools, contrary to the Oslo agreements and the 2003 Roadmap; and strangely refers only to supposed dehumanization of Palestinians by Israelis. It states, for example, "... graffiti left on the walls in Gaza, the obscenities and often racist slogans all constituted an overall image of humiliation and dehumanization of the Palestinian population."

 

The Mission failed in its fact-finding obligation by depriving itself of important credible information in ignoring my recommendation to invite evidence from Palestinian Media Watch and Memri, two organizations that document Palestinian incitement. The Mission also ignored evidence that had been drawn to its attention about the dehumanization of Jews. For example, in the At Al Omari mosque, the imam refers to Jews as "the brothers of apes and pigs" and, in a video presentation, a three year old is taught that Jews are the sons of pigs and apes, and a school class is taught to strive for martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible. If the members of your Mission were not inclined to express horror, surely they were duty bound to at least mention in the report the likely effect of this indoctrination of children? Or do they consider the indoctrination justified?

 

The Mission also completely ignored a recent PA TV broadcast of an event in which the savage murder and mutilation of two Israelis by a frenzied mob of Palestinians was celebrated and lauded as an example of national pride and duty. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEqeKdjJto0.

 

It is surprising that your report fails to recommend appropriate action against Hamas and the PA in terms of Article 3 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which provides that incitement to commit genocide is a punishable act.

 

The report ignores the thesis presented to it that the cycle of violence, of which pundits speak glibly, is inaccurate. The cycle is not Palestinian attacks and Israeli responses. The missing element is the Palestinian INCITEMENT, which undeniably leads to the initial violence and which must be eliminated if any peaceful solution is to be contemplated.

 

The methodology

An alarming aspect of your Mission's report is the irresponsible manner in which uninformed speculation, with no foundation in fact whatsoever, has been used as a basis for making critical recommendations that will affect the lives of millions.

 

Paragraph 1680 rejects the Israeli government's assertion that the Cast Lead operation was essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self defense. The Mission speculates, without any effort at substantiation, that the plan was directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.

 

This statement is reckless defamation in the extreme, in view of the more than 10,000 rockets that rained almost daily on Sderot and the western Negev, fired from heavily populated civilian centers and deliberately aimed at civilian areas (a double war crime) over the past eight years.

 

Your Mission was shown video clips of schoolchildren rushing to take shelter whenever the red alert sounded, giving only 15 seconds warning. Mr. Bedein of the Sderot Media Center gave evidence in Geneva about the tragic suffering of the population. Yet your Mission does not accept that this was the reason for Cast Lead.

 

The rockets were often deliberately fired at times of the day when schoolchildren were gathering so as to achieve maximum casualties and it is only by good luck or divine providence that they claimed only 28 lives, over 600 injured, and thousands psychologically traumatized. Needless to say, the families of the 28 dead innocent citizens of Israel, the 600 injured, and the thousands traumatized do not consider this good luck at all.

 

In these circumstances, denying that the Cast Lead operation was aimed at ending the rocket fire is equivalent to claiming that the earth is flat. The irresponsible, weighty recommendations of your Mission, based on preconceived opinions supported by pure speculation, with no attempt at substantiation, will have long-term, existential effects and reflect egregiously on the entire methodology adopted in preparing the report. This flaw is so serious that - on this count alone - the report must be either rejected or returned for serious revision.

 

 

 

Please enter your comments here. Thank you
Full name:
Email address:
Subject: