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Did Richard Goldstone Hide More Sinister Crimes in Gaza?
11-06-2009, 07:08 PM,
#1
Did Richard Goldstone Hide More Sinister Crimes in Gaza?
Did Richard Goldstone Hide More Sinister Crimes in Gaza? Part 4 (Final)
Thursday, 05 November 2009 06:34 Added by PT Editor Sarah Price
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[Image: wall_of_west_bank_photo_by_gabork.jpg]
Gaza, November 5, 2009, (Pal Telegraph) - It would be hard for me not to pass comment on the situation in West Bank as that clearly became part of the Missions remit. However, I must say in passing that the war crimes carried out during Cast Lead were solely a Gaza Strip issue.

We have to accept that Palestinians in general all became the victim of Israeli's aggression but one cannot compare living in West Bank to living in Gaza. So let's side track for one moment and look at the situation in and around West Bank.

On of the biggest issues besides the blockade is the grotesque wall that splits so many communities up in the West Bank. One can recall the fall of the Berlin Wall but this wall makes that wall almost insignificant by size comparison. All of this in clear violation of the United Nations...not as that makes any difference to the Israelis!

The report talks about "Restrictions on freedom of movement in West Bank."

In Paragraph 92 of that report it states that Israel has long imposed a system of movement restrictions. Movement is restricted by a combination of physical obstacles such as roadblocks, checkpoints and the Wall, but also through administrative measures such as identity cards, permits, assigned residence, laws on family reunification, and policies on the right to enter from abroad and the right of return for refugees. Palestinians are denied access to areas expropriated for the building of the Wall and its infrastructure, for use by settlements, buffer zones, military bases and military training zones, and the roads built to connect these places. Many of these roads are "Israeli only" and forbidden for Palestinian use. Tens of thousands of Palestinians today are subject to a "travel ban" imposed by Israel, preventing them from travelling abroad. A number of witnesses and experts invited by the Mission to meet in Amman and participate in the hearings in Geneva could not meet with the Mission due to this travel ban.

One can clearly see the pure arrogance of Israel towards the United Nations and the fact that they would not let the Mission go to Israel and blatantly refused to participate in the investigation. The fact that they also stopped key witnesses from going to Jordan was also in total defiance of the UN. We see this time and time again whereby Israel refuses to accept any resolution passed against it and is further backed up by the US who Veto any move that addresses these issues.

On would be foolish to believe that the United Nations General Assembly had any power to discipline Israel for these gross acts of aggressive defiance. On can only wish that one day we will see the UN "Shine" in its responsibilities and impose severe sanctions on this arrogant nation. Do we think for one moment that the US would stop providing both military/financial aid to their valued ally?

West_BankThe Goldstone report does not give reference to the fact that almost two thirds of the West Bank is under occupation and under total Israeli control. If one looks at this map you can clearly see that West bank does not belong to the Palestinians. It is also a fact that Israelis are stealing Palestinian natural resources with a further potential to explore and exploit the potential oil/gas deposits in the rift/fault line area between the eastern aspect of West Bank and the border of Jordan.

Exploration further south (outside of West Bank) is starting to show some pleasing results in the discovery of oil and gas. One must point out that it is common for areas with such high geological activity, to be rich in natural resources (as we have already seen in the Gaza offshore area). The report clearly points a finger at Israel for its history of intimidation and the ongoing blockade but says nothing about the rape of Palestinian natural resources which the UN has been aware of for some considerable time.

Paragraph 95 of the reports draws reference to the Israeli building programme in the West Bank despite the strongest of warnings from the UN and from President Obama......any yes you can say "So What"....we again see the arrogant attitude of this "I do as I want nation".

The report highlights: Israel's Ministry of Housing and Planning is planning a further 73,000 settlement homes to be built in the West Bank. The building of 15,000 of these homes has already been approved, and, if all the plans are realized, the number of settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory will be doubled. Can we in the west ever understand how deeply this distresses the Palestinians and how this out of control building programme makes the very words "Peace Talks" sound so totally distant? Can we in the west understand the hatred that emanates out of this blatant act of aggression? Can we understand why the Palestinians take up arms from time to time to fight off this malignant cancerous growth? This "New Israel" has never been theirs for the taking but rather stolen from them.

I would at this stage just like to go back on the investigation into the weapons used by the Israelis and draw attention to the Missions remit which clearly stated the following:
• Site visits to specific locations in Gaza where incidents had occurred
• The analysis of video and photographic images, including satellite imagery
• The review of medical reports about injuries to victims;
• The forensic analysis of weapons and ammunition remnants collected at incident sites

Independent munitions experts have already evaluated photographs of exploding Missiles, Bombs and Shells and concluded that many of these explosions were not conventional weapons and indicated weapons that contained Uranium. My question would be that if they had viewed the same photographs and if "Forensic analysis" had been carried out, why didn't they also find DU/EU. Samples that were returned to the UK and tested at Harwell certainly revealed the presence of both DU and EU.....I guess the UN used the same format as they did on other investigations: "If you don't look you don't find"

It was extremely interesting to read some comments made by Col Desmond Travers (UN Team in Gaza) in response to questions ask during any interview by Ken Silverstein:

"Critics have also said that Hamas deliberately inserted its fighters among civilians and that doing so increased the civilian toll. Did you find that to be the case?"

"We found no evidence that Hamas used civilians as hostages. I had expected to find such evidence but did not. We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions. Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion. Gaza is densely populated and has a labyrinth of makeshift shanties and a system of tunnels and bunkers. If I were a Hamas operative the last place I'd store munitions would be in a mosque. It's not secure, is very visible, and would probably be pre-targeted by Israeli surveillance. There are a many better places to store munitions. We investigated two destroyed mosques-one where worshippers were killed-and we found no evidence that either was used as anything but a place of worship".

"What is your view of the claim by Israeli officials that the IDF is the most "moral" army in the world"?

"Given the tactics, the weapons used, and the indiscriminate targeting, I think this is a dubious claim".

"What other issues do you think need to be addressed"?

"We were disturbed by the lethality and toxicity of weapons used in Gaza, some of which have been in Western arsenals since the Cold War, such as white phosphorous, which incinerated 14 people, including several children in one attack; flechettes, small darts that are designed to tumble upon entering human flesh in order to cause maximum damage, strictly in breach of the Geneva Convention; and highly carcinogenic tungsten shrapnel and DIME munitions, which contain tungsten in powder form. There is also a whole cocktail of other problematic munitions suspected to have been used."

I would like to just stop there for one moment and read the admittance of Flechettes and "Highly Carcinogenic Tungsten" - DIME munitions which Col Travers states are strictly in breach of the Geneva Convention." Note also the reference to a whole cocktail of other problematic munitions.........could this be DU/EU he is referring to?

Col Travers continued by saying: "There are a number of other post-conflict issues in Gaza that need to be addressed. The land is dying. There are toxic deposits from all the munitions that have been dropped. There are serious issues with water-its depletion and its contamination. There is a high instance of nitrates in the soil that is especially dangerous to children. If these issues are not addressed, Gaza may not even be habitable by World Health Organization norms."........another note here is the reference to toxic deposits from munitions...could this again be DU/EU?

During another interview with the Irish Times Col Travers said:

"We were extremely disappointed . . [the deferral] came as a great shock to us," Col Travers told The Irish Times yesterday. "Justice deferred is justice denied."

His next comment was also very interesting when you compare his thoughts with those of the illustrious Hillary Clinton who thought it was better to delay this report until March 2010 in order to allow the peace talks to go ahead!

Col Travers thought otherwise when he said "You cannot have a peace process unless you acknowledge war crimes."

The colonel drew attention to weapons and munitions used by Israel during the conflict, including white phosphorous, flechettes - finned darts, thousands of which are packed into tank shells and released at high speed - and heavy metal shrapnel: "I recommend those weapons and munitions mentioned in the report should now be examined by independent bodies in order to determine their appropriateness as weapons even in theatres of war."

He also stressed the damage to Gaza's soil, sewage, air and water systems should be addressed immediately. "This environmental damage is now at crisis point, and if not addressed by the international community as a matter of urgency, will have serious effects on the quality of life of [Gaza's] citizens - especially that of its children." He recommended the monitoring of those injured by heavy metal shrapnel for complications arising from the carcinogenic effects of such metals.

Col Travers said the UN team advised the blockade on Gaza be lifted "in its entirety."

Flash News: US Congress have just voted against the Goldstone report 344 against and only 36 for. Congress will now put this to Obama to reject the report entirely. This is truly a very sad day for Gaza and for world justice.

- Peter Eyre, Middle East Consultant

http://www.paltelegraph.com/diaries/featur...za-part-4-final
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04-02-2011, 05:40 PM,
#2
RE: Did Richard Goldstone Hide More Sinister Crimes in Gaza?
wtf is going here?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/reconsidering-the-goldstone-report-on-israel-and-war-crimes/2011/04/01/AFg111JC_story.html

Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

By Richard Goldstone, Friday, April 1, 8:42 PM

We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.

While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum. Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).

As I indicated from the very beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s cooperation. The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.

Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.

I continue to believe in the cause of establishing and applying international law to protracted and deadly conflicts. Our report has led to numerous “lessons learned” and policy changes, including the adoption of new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas. The Palestinian Authority established an independent inquiry into our allegations of human rights abuses — assassinations, torture and illegal detentions — perpetrated by Fatah in the West Bank, especially against members of Hamas. Most of those allegations were confirmed by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

The writer, a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.

Don't believe anything they say.
And at the same time,
Don't believe that they say anything without a reason.
---Immanuel Kant
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