Few nations would take the time to investigate and respond to an investigation so misguided and poisoned, so biased and partial. The fact that Israel investigated and took the time to respond says much for the true nature of Israel. The response to Goldstone is long, but then again – Goldstone wasted no effort when using (and abusing) words. It was facts that were missing from his report, not words.
For those who don’t have the time to review Israel’s entire document, here are a few of the main highlights the Goldstone and his ilk ignored:
- Israel is a democracy, with a well-developed legal system. Even though it has confronted constant and existential threats from neighbouring states and non-state actors, Israel stands committed to the rule of law.
- Under Israel’s Basic Law for the Military, the IDF is subordinate and accountable to the civilian Government. Like any other governmental authority, it is subject to the rule of law, including the applicable rules of international law.
The report goes into extensive detail about Israel’s chain of command and accountability. Needlessly and yet thoroughly, it compares itself to other democracies and shows the military is not, and was not, above the law. The important information regarding Gaza then begins. Again, for those who won’t read the entire document, here are its main points:
- The deliberate strategy of Hamas to blend in with the civilian population made it difficult for the IDF to achieve the objective of the Gaza Operation – reducing the threat of deliberate attacks against Israeli civilians.
- The IDF undertook strenuous efforts to minimise such harm. It intensively trained its personnel on the requirements of the Law of Armed Conflict. It delayed, diverted, or refrained from attacks to spare civilian life. It provided numerous and varied types of concrete warnings before launching attacks. Nevertheless, Israel’s efforts to comply with the Law of Armed Conflict do not lessen its regret for the loss of innocent lives and damage to civilian property.
- On 20 January 2009 – just two days after the conclusion of the Gaza Operation – IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Ashkenazi ordered five special command investigations into a range of allegations raised by international and non-governmental organisations and various news media.
This means, long before Goldstone stuck his egotistical nose into events, the IDF fully investigated all claims it received or uncovered. Disciplinary actions were taken against any infractions found, corrections were made to procedures that might not have been followed and lessons were learned. Certainly, no sane human being can think Hamas or any Palestinian organization likewise investigated its actions during and prior to the Gaza War and yet Goldstone felt justified in finding faults with Israel because, as we all know, he had his own agenda, his own prejudices. He allowed the fact that he was born as a Jew to be used (and abused) to propel himself into what he assumed would be further glory.
But to continue….
- Following the U.N. Board of Inquiry’s examination, and notwithstanding certain reservations it had with some aspects of the Board’s report, Israel entered into a dialogue with the United Nations to address all issues arising from the incidents examined. On 22 January 2010, the Secretary General thanked Israel for its “cooperative approach” in these discussions and confirmed that all financial issues relating to these incidents had been satisfactorily concluded.
This means – long before Goldstone…Israel took action to resolve and correct any mistakes made in the heat of war…and this also means that Goldstone’s appointment and subsequent findings were the result of politics and political maneuverings…certainly not justified by Israel’s lack of action. There was no reason to participate or cooperate with the Goldstone Commission because the Goldstone Commission’s mission was flawed and biased from the start AND, Israel had already gone further and deeper on its own to investigate the war.
But to continue…
- Goldstone suggested, claimed, inferred, that Israel had used white phosphorous. Israel’s investigation of all military records shows “With respect to exploding munitions containing white phosphorous, the
Military Advocate General concluded that the use of this weapon in the operation was consistent with Israel’s obligations under international law.”
- With respect to smoke projectiles, “the Military Advocate General found that international law does not prohibit use of smoke projectiles containing phosphorous. Specifically, such projectiles are not “incendiary weapons,” within the meaning of the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons,108 because they are not primarily designed to set fire or to burn. The Military Advocate General further determined that during the Gaza Operation, the IDF used such smoke projectiles for military purposes only, for instance to camouflage IDF armor forces from Hamas’s antitank units by creating smoke screens.”
There is so much more…I’ll try to cover it in future posts, but what encourages me and impresses me is the depth of detail posted and more, the fact that long before the United Nations wasted its time and efforts in bringing in Richard Goldstone and his prominent ego, Israel had already investigated itself and answered properly.
Yes, there are accidents and mistakes in war – that’s part of what makes it war. There are innocents that died – but where Richard Goldstone’s ego easily overpowered his intelligence was in his failure to note the fundamental difference between Israel and the enemy it fought in Gaza. His unforgivable failure was that he did not note that OUR target was Hamas while trying our best to avoid innocent non-combatants, while Hamas’ target were innocent Israelis and if they managed to hit soldiers too – all the better.
There will be no accountability in Gaza – only smiles for those innocents the murdered and regret for those rockets they launched at Israel that failed to hit their mark. The Israeli response to Goldstone’s commission is well delivered and will be ignored by the likes of Goldstone because it isn’t the conclusion he was paid to deliver.