Posted by: Morton A. Klein
September 16, 2009 | 1 comments
News

ZOA Condemns Goldstone’s Despicable Anti-Israel U.N. Report, Based On Unsubstantiated Testimony & Perversion Of Legal Norms

 


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned in the strongest possible terms the outrageous Goldstone/UN report on the 2008-9 Israel-Hamas Gaza hostilities, which ignores all Hamas assaults upon Israel that led to Israel’s operations in Gaza and which bases its condemnation of Israel on unsubstantiated Palestinian testimony. The Report claimed to find no conclusive evidence that Hamas used Palestinian civilians as human shields in the fighting; copied major, politicized distortions of international legal norms habitually made by anti-Israel NGOs; falsely reclassified Hamas personnel as civilian police in order to indict Israel for legitimate assaults upon these forces; and invented non-existent legal obligations of which it then proceeded to find Israel in breach.


 


The Goldstone Commission was created by the UN Human Rights Council, a body created in 2005, which is dominated by dictatorial regimes, including Arab regimes. In just three years, the HRC’s controlling membership eliminated probes into the most serious human-rights abuses in Belarus, Congo, Cuba, Liberia and Sudan. In that time, some 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million displaced in Darfur alone. During the same period, however, the HRC passed 33 resolutions, of which 26 related to Israel, which has been the only country specifically condemned by the Council.


 


UN Resolution S-9/1which established the mandate for the Goldstone commission said the Human Rights Council “Decides to dispatch an urgent, independent international fact-finding mission, to be appointed by the President of the Council, to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying Power, Israel, against the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, due to the current aggression, and calls upon Israel not to obstruct the process of investigation and to fully cooperate with the mission.”


 


In other words, the UN resolution itself was fatally flawed, as it decided in advance that 1. Israel was an aggressor, not a defender after sustaining thousands of rocket attacks without replying; 2. Gaza is occupied by Israel; and 3. The conduct of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups were not important or relevant to the investigation.


 


The Goldstone Report has been condemned by Israeli President Shimon Peres in these terms: “The report gives de facto legitimacy to terrorist initiatives and ignores the obligation and right of every country to defend itself, as the UN itself had clearly stated … [It] failed to supply any other way for Hamas fire to stop … “The Israeli government withdrew (from Gaza) and Hamas began a murderous rampage, firing thousands of shells on women and children – innocent


civilians, instead of rebuilding Gaza and caring for the population’s welfare. [Hamas] builds tunnels and used civilians and children to shield terrorists and hide weapons.”


 


Former Israeli Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann also criticized the report, saying “it is a political report disguised in a legal cloak, but it is legally unfounded. What this report really means is that Israel is the only country in the world which is not allowed to defend itself against acts of terror. Israel is the most threatened nation in the world and yet it makes the most effort to avoid harming innocent lives. “Any comparison of Israel’s fight on terror with recent conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. immediately shows that Israel holds itself to the highest ethical standard(Roni Sofer, ‘Peres: Goldstone Report makes mockery of historyYediot Ahronot, September 16, 2009).


 


Some examples of bias and inaccuracy in the Goldstone Report:


 


·           The very title of the Report – ‘Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ – contains a falsehood – namely, that Gaza is “occupied” by Israel when, under Article 6 of the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, a foreign power is only considered an occupier “to the extent that such Power exercises the functions of government in such territory” – something Israel has not done since 2005. (At the time of the Gaza operation, the ZOA’s Michael Goldblatt and Daniel Mandel published this op-ed, describing in detail the falsity and absurdity of the claim that Israel is the occupying power in Gaza).


 


·           The evidentiary basis for much of the Report came from organizations like B’Tselem, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Al-Haq and Human Rights Watch, all of which have a record of recycling unsubstantiated Palestinian testimony as fact. Para. 30 of the Report claims that “The data provided by non-governmental sources with regard to the percentage of civilians among those killed are generally consistent and  raise very serious concerns with regard to the way Israel conducted the military operations in Gaza.’ Yet, as British journalist Melanie Philips points out, Israel provided a detailed breakdown of the Palestinians killed in Gaza and stated that the vast majority of these were Hamas or other terror operatives. Even the UN eventually acknowledged that some 75% of the dead in Gaza were Hamas terrorists.


 


·           Para. 495 of the Report ignores evidence that contradicts Goldstone’s predetermined conclusions: “Although the situations investigated by the Mission did not establish the use of mosques for military purposes or to shield military activities, the Mission cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other cases.” In fact, the evidence of many examples of the routine use of human shields by Hamas during the Gaza hostilities can be found at ‘Palestinian witnesses: Hamas used civilians as human shields in Gaza war,’ Palestinian Media Watch, September 16, 2009.


 


·           Paras. 33-34 of the Report rejects the fact that Gaza police targeted by Israeli military strikes were “part of the terrorist infrastructure” and that therefore the attacks on police buildings were unlawful. This has been substantively rebutted by Jonathan Halevi forted for the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, who notes that among the 343 members of the Palestinian security forces who were killed, 286 have been identified as terror organization members (83 percent), while another 27 belonged to units undergoing infantry training raises this total to 313 (91 percent). Goldstone even admits that “there may be individual members of the Gaza police that were at the same time members of Palestinian armed groups and thus combatants” but he continues to treat them as civilians and thus protected persons.


 


·           In Para. 688, the Report questions the accuracy of Israel’s response to the mortar shelling of al-Fakhura junction in Jabalya next to an UNRWA school, an incident in which Israel was at the time blamed for shelling the school itself, killing more than 40 civilians sheltering there. In fact, Israel had not shelled the school at all, but had returned mortar fire at the street next to the school from where firing was still continuing, killing some terrorists and a smaller number of civilians standing near a Hamas mortar position. As Melanie Philips writes, “So the fact that Israel was the victim of an incendiary libel by the UN, which said falsely that its school had been hit and inflated the number of casualties — a lie that went round the world inciting hysteria and violence against Israel and Jews — is totally ignored; instead Israel is pilloried for its (undoubtedly) chaotic response as it gradually pieced together what had actually happened.”


 


 


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA condemns this atrocious, new installment in the international effort to delegitimize Israel, using perverted and spurious norms of international law in order to invalidate Israel’s elementary, fundamental right and obligation to defend its territory and its citizens. It is nothing less than an anti-Semitic, Israel-bashing, immoral piece of trash. We are appalled that Justice Goldstone was willing to ruin his legal reputation by participating in this dishonestly-conceived and fraudulent investigation. Most serious, perhaps, is the fact that Richard Goldstone was willing to bend and pervert legal norms – such as the definition of occupation and of combatants – in order to pin non-existent legal responsibility on Israel for acts were both justified and indeed necessary in self-defense.


 


“Despite an attempt early in the Report to make it appear at as though his Commission was investigating both sides, this is really a cover-up: the terms of the UN resolution that created the Commission make it clear that Goldstone was sent on a predetermined investigation to find the Jewish state of Israel and Israel alone guilty. He ignores completely that Israel was assaulted for seven years by thousands of rockets, ruining the lives of southern Israel and that these rockets were fired with one intent – to murder as many Jews as possible.


 


“This is a Report that should be condemned and ignored by all people of goodwill. The leaders of Hamas and Iran must be clearly delighted in this Report. For shame on Goldstone and the U.N. Every anti-Semitic racist bigot in the world is smiling.”