From the outset, I want to thank my good friend Maurice Ostroff who contributed much of the material in this blog.
The Goldstone report is now out and although one can talk about the make up of the mission and delve into personal criticism of the mission members; this is just allowing emotion to rule the head.
According to sources in Washington, a top White House official told Jewish organizational leaders in an off-the-record phone call Wednesday that the U.S. strategy was to "quickly" bring the report -- commissioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council and carried out by former South African Judge Richard Goldstone -- to its "natural conclusion" within the Human Rights Council and not to allow it to go further.
It appears that the Obama administration is ready to use the U.S. veto at the U.N. Security Council to deal with any other "difficulties" arising out of the report, the White House official said Wednesday. The administration also has made clear to the Palestinian Authority that Washington is not pleased with a P.A. petition to bring the report's allegations against Israel to the International Criminal Court.
The official said the Obama administration's view was that the report was flawed from its conception because the mandate presumed a priori that Israel had violated war crimes and that the mandate ignored Hamas' role in prompting the war through its rocket fire into Israel.
The report condemns itself in so many places that it is discrediting itself within its own report.
On the subject of 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. A dictionary definition states “To cite as an example or means of proof in an argument”. One must wonder at the reluctance to state unambiguously that Mr. Hammad declared proudly that the Palestinians use human shields as he did.
Although Mr. Hammad's exact words can be heard in the video sent to the mission, the report states, "Mr. Hammad reportedly 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. Accordingly, .. and here the UN report stops short.
The next sentence in the video clip which is evidently intentionally omitted in your report is the operative one. Mr Hammad went on to say. "This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly and the mujahideen.. "
The inference that this sentence was deliberately omitted to hide 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 Human Rights Council must insist that the authors explain the contradiction between paragraphs 475 and 481 as well as the actual content of the video clip.
Dehumanization. During an interview on Al Jazeera TV, Goldstone 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 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 evidence from Palestinian Media Watch and Memri, two organizations that document Palestinian incitement. It ignored evidence of dehumanization of Jews that had been drawn to the attention of the Mission e.g, In the At Al Omari mosque, the imam refers to Jews as "the brothers of apes and pigs" and the video presentation in which a three year old is taught that Jews are the sons of pigs and apes as well as a school class taught to strive for martyrdom by killing as many Jews as possible. If the members of the 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 rebroadcast 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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEqeKdjJto0
The 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 Palestinians attack and Israel responds or vice versa. The missing element is the Palestinian INCITEMENT, which unavoidably leads to the initial violence and which must be eliminated if any peaceful solution is to be contemplated.
In the methodology of the report irresponsible speculation presented as factual. An alarming aspect of the report is the irresponsible, manner in which uninformed speculation with no foundation at all in fact, 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 and 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 slander 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.
The Mission was shown video clips of schoolchildren rushing to take shelter whenever the red alert sounded giving only 15 seconds warning.
The Sderot Media Center presented evidence in Geneva about the tragic sufferings of the population and yet you do not accept that this was the reason for Cast Lead.
The rockets were often deliberately fired at times of day when schoolkids 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.
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 that will have long-term, even existential effects based on preconceived opinions supported by pure speculation with no attempt at substantiation, reflects egregiously on the entire methodology adopted in preparing the report. The flaw is so serious that on this count alone, the report must be either rejected or returned for serious revision.
This report would not qualify for a pass grade in any academic institution; it should be withdrawn or rewritten.