Thursday, October 29, 2009

Concealed Evidence now Available

According to annex III of the Goldstone Report, the Fact-finding Mission (FFM) received 31 submissions from members of the public and NGO's, including a group of fifteen Australian lawyers, Take-a-Pen, Yvonne Green , NGO Monitor, Elihu Richter, Ian Lacey, Maurice Ostroff, Bnai Brith and Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs among others. See these at

As the Goldstone Report failed to address highly relevant and credible information contained in these memoranda it was feared that in the absence of an opportunity to examine this important evidence it would be impossible for the public as well as the UNHRC to whom the Mission was reporting, to properly evaluate it.

As a result Judge Goldstone was asked as long ago as last August, that all submissions received by the Fact-finding Mission be made available on the Mission's web site for the benefit of the public and more importantly for members of the UNHRC, the SC and the GA,.Although Judge Goldstone firmly agreed to support this request, the secretariat has carry it out. (The UK parliamentary Select Committees make a practice of archiving for public view, all memoranda received from the public).

The following reply to this request was sent by the secretariat. "In relation to your query as to whether the submissions made to the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict in response to the Mission's call of 8 June 2009 would be posted on the UNFFMGC webpage, after further reviewing the material, we have concluded that it would not be appropriate to post them. The reason is that some of the submissions include names of individuals who are indicated as sources of some of the information provided, without indication of their consent to be named publicly. In doubt, and out of respect for those individuals, it would not be possible to make such information public. In the circumstances, doing otherwise would be contrary to established practice with regard to source protection. Rather than being selective in posting information, we have preferred to adopt one standard and all submissions will be retained in the Mission's archives, together with all other documentation received by the Mission. It goes without saying that it remains the prerogative of the authors of the submissions that do not present such problems to publicize them as they consider most appropriate. We have already indicated so to those submitting organizations who have inquired about the same matter".

The reason given by the secretariat blatantly conflicts with the spirit of the FFM's aforementioned call for submissions which states unambiguously "Unless otherwise indicated by the author, the Mission will assume that submissions can be made public" See

So now even the mission's secretariat doesn't agree with Goldstone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Economic Collapse?

Thankfully, here in Israel many have thrived during the global collapse—thanks to an entrepreneurial culture.

There never seems to be a day go by without reports of new products, new start ups, new investment. Sure the traditional companies have tightened there belts, unemployment is higher than a year ago but even here there are significant signs that the percentage of unemployed is going down.

For all the press coverage of the Middle East, there is one side of Israel that gets scant attention:

a) the country’s economy has the highest concentration of innovation and entrepreneurialism in the world today.

b) multinational technology companies and global investors have been beating a path to Israel. Even in 2008—a year of global economic turmoil—per capita venture investments in Israel were 2.5 times greater than in the United States, more than 30 times greater than in Europe, 80 times greater than in China, and 350 times greater than in India.

c) Israel still boasts the highest density of start-ups in the world (a total of 3,850 start-ups, one for every 1,844 Israelis).

d) more Israeli companies are on NASDAQ than companies from all of Europe, China, India, Korea, and Japan combined.

For a full report on the economic success, it is worth reading the analysis at

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Evidence that Goldstone Ignored

So much evidence has been ignored by the Goldstone mission and that same mission is even refusing to publish such evidence as has been submitted on their web site.

In the next few days all this evidence has been gathered and will be published on a new web site - I will keep you informed.

Meanwhile another letter from the Head Psychologist in Sderot has now been given prominence by the Sderot Media Center which I print below. This side of the story has just simply been ignored by Goldstone.

Judge Goldstone Shalom,

My name is Dr. Adriana Katz and for the past 15 years I have served as the Head Psychiatrist at the Mental Health Center in Sderot, Israel. My name could have been also Buchbut, Davidov, or Amar like the names of tens of thousand of citizens living in Sderot and Western Negev communities.

I would like to thank Sderot Media Center for their unceasing work to show the human story of what has been happening here in Sderot and the Western Negev. For this reason I have asked them to help me in getting my voice out on this UN Report.

What do you know Judge Goldstone of the thousands of Israeli trauma victims whose lives have become hell on earth? They can no longer go to work, every noise, bleep or beep sends them into a panic, where they cry and tremble fearing it’s another siren going off.

It has been almost 9 years now, Judge Goldstone, where thousands of innocent civilians living in these communities have been suffering from daily insecurity and fear. Almost 9 years where this fear has no smell or taste - but it has a color - the color RED.

It has been almost 9 years, Honorable Goldstone, that we, the psychiatrists and the social workers have been busy trying to pick up the pieces and trying to mend the ruined lives, the separated families, and children who are sick from fear and trauma.

For the past 9 years, over 12,000 qassam rockets have been fired upon our communities. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, we don’t know whether we will make it home, or to work or to school, alive or in one piece.

We have raised a generation of qassam children and we will need more time than we have to fix what the rockets have destroyed. Who will help the 4,000 children return to mentally stable ordinary lives, where they will cease to wet their beds at night and no longer fear to leave their homes?

6,500 files have been opened at our Mental Health Center and the numbers are growing every day. There is no post-trauma reality here in Sderot - as the rockets continue to strike everything is still traumatic. There are dozens of years of rehabilitation lying ahead for the population here.

Honorable Goldstone, it is clear to me that blood and ruins have more impact and dramatically photograph better. You cannot photograph a destroyed psyche and broadcast it all over the world.

The reality in Sderot has turned into a game of Russian roulette. Nobody knows who’s next. And here too you can find blood and ruin.

Can you tell me Judge Goldstone who can carry on under such conditions? Who would agree to live in such a reality?

Where has the Honorable Goldstone been all these years when Jewish children have been under constant Palestinian attack? Operation Cast Lead proves the common saying; a constantly beaten dog will eventually turn on his master.

Judge Goldstone, I am against wars. The pictures I have seen have made me cry. The children in Gaza are as precious as the children of Sderot. Yet I don’t see how we can go on like this. Have you seen any action - verbal or actual on the part of world leaders during these long years of suffering on the Israeli side?

Like you, I am not a Zionist. I do what needs to be done as part of my duty of being a doctor. Now I feel that I can no longer be silent in the face of unfair play where you describe the situation according to your view, turning the State of Israel into a criminal country.

Perhaps had I been still living in Europe I would think like you, but from where I live things look very different. I don’t even expect you to understand. And he who does not understand cannot judge. If anything, I have learned one thing - things that cannot be seen from there are not what they are here. If I was an influential personality I would invite you to Sderot and perhaps then you would be able to pass judgment objectively and informatively.

Sincerely, Dr. Adriana Katz

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Making the Impossible Possible"

A conference this week in Jerusalem is causing some traffic disruption with many heads of governments arriving in the country for the President’s conference, “Making the Impossible Possible”, how to transform a dream into reality, a crisis into an opportunity?

Among the participants are world leaders, scientists, intellectuals and academics, economists and businesspeople, people from the media, artists, security experts and environmentalists.

The simple truth, stated in the opening speech, is that dependence on oil endangers the world. It is a threat to Israel’s security, its economy and the environment.

Why our security? Because dependence on fossil fuels strengthens the dark regimes that encourage instability and fund terror with their petrodollars.

Why the economy?, Because if we don't develop alternative energy sources, the demand for fossil fuels will increase and the supply will decrease. This will lead to an increase in prices, which in turn will adversely affect global economic development in countries that import fossil fuels – which is the majority of countries. This will cause serious economic harm.

Environmentally, because the pollution from fossil fuels poisons the air that we breathe, the water that we drink and the food that we eat. The world’s dependence on oil harms us and the earth every day, and has done so for decades.

To counteract all this, it is essential to set a goal: to free the world from dependence on oil. Whilst this may seem impossible, all it takes is one or two inventions to make a breakthrough and change the world.

Is Israel the country that will discover the breakthrough that will free the world of its dependence on fossil fuels? The feeling is that the answer is “Yes”. Why? Because Israel has two significant resources that provide a good chance of doing so.

• There are the minds and the hearts.
• The capability, the will.

In a speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said, “Israel is very advanced in many technological fields – agro-tech, hi-tech, nanotechnology, solar energy, battery technologies and renewable energies. Thus, we must be amongst the leading candidates to create a global revolution in the clean energy field because of this capacity.

What I propose to do today is to establish a nation commission of scientists, engineers, business and government people to set a goal that within ten years, we'll have a practical, clean, efficient substitute for oil. I think it's possible. I think we can make the impossible possible.”

Let’s hope for the sake of the future of the world, the impossible becomes possible.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

German Educators Visit Haifa School

I was privileged to meet a large delegation of German educators who visited the Leo Baeck school, in Haifa this week.

Leo Baeck is a private school with a high reputation for academic achievement and has a very significant percentage of Arab students in its many programs.

One teacher, a recent immigrant from the USA gave his perspective on the school and its programmes. Questions from the delegation ranged from class size, discipline in class, the training of teachers and the conditions and facilities available to the teaching staff in the school.

We were then joined by 8 pupils of the 11th grade in the school who told the delegation not only what they were studying but also about the considerable extramural activities that they undertook within the framework of personal development.

All mentioned the need to develop themselves in order that they could help others around them. Such social projects involved becoming Scout counselors, visiting the elderly, infirm and holocaust survivors with no family. There are also opportunities running a coffee shop for children at risk, being a medical clown for children in hospital suffering from cancer and sitting on the school’s environmental committee to “green” the school.

Most of the pupils had visited countries overseas such as USA, Germany, Austria, China and others in an outreach programme.

The delegation was also interested why the pupils had chosen Leo Baeck when in many cases it involved much more traveling. All answered that the school had an excellent name for academic achievement.

Following a question from one of the delegation, the pupils gave their views on how the conflict with the Palestinians is dealt with in school.

The pupils then were given their opportunity to ask the delegation questions. Naturally they wanted to know why they had come to their school but also asked pointed questions about how the conflict is dealt with in Germany and also the subject of the holocaust.

At this point the Headmaster joined the discussion and gave his vision of the school. In addition to academic achievement, he stated that it was essential the pupils develop social responsibility and within a formal framework pupils receive a certificate recognizing community service in addition to the academic certificates.

In responding to a question about reaching out to the Arab community, the headmaster stated that there is considerable involvement with the Israeli Arab community, many come to study in the school. In addition there is a Jewish-Arab community center, a center for Arab children at risk and an annual Arab Jewish summer camp.

Whilst the headmaster expressed the hope that there would be more involvement with Palestinian children, the present political climate not only in Israel but also within the Palestinian Authority did not make this possible at this time but hoped that it may be possible in the future.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tackling Climate Change in Israel

It is only apt that Israel's Cabinet approved an important environmental decision on the day its parliament celebrated World Environment Day earlier this year– a decision to prepare a climate change plan for Israel.

Global warming and the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions call for joint action by countries worldwide. In the Mediterranean Sea basin, even more than in other parts of the world, the impacts of climate change are reflected in warming and drying trends, on the one hand, and in an increase in extreme weather events (floods and heat waves), on the other hand. Since these trends are associated with adverse impacts on the water sector, agricultural production, drainage systems, the energy sector, the coastal environment and more, adaptation and preparedness are prerequisites.

Although Israel was classified as a developing economy under the Climate Change Convention, a comparison of carbon dioxide emissions per capita between Israel and other European countries shows that Israel is not far behind some of the countries with developed economies which are listed in Annex I of the Convention.

In order to quantify Israel's mitigation potential, the Ministry of Environmental Protection commissioned a study on options for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in Israel. The study shows that three sectors currently contribute some 95% of greenhouse gas emissions in Israel – the energy sector (including electricity production and transport), responsible for 83% of the emissions, the disposal of solid waste, responsible for 7% of the emissions, and industrial processes, especially cement and lime, which contribute 4% of the emissions. What's especially worrying is that the study anticipates a further rise in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, with the forecast pointing to a 63% increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the year 2025, under a business-as usual scenario, in relation to 2000.

More than 90% of the emissions will come from the energy and transport sectors, with the rest coming from industrial processes (4%) and waste (5%). In order to change this trend, Israel must reduce greenhouse gas emissions in all relevant sectors.

At the same time, the study quantifies Israel's potential for limiting greenhouse gas emissions by identifying potential abatement mitigation measures, which include, inter alia, energy related building codes, greater efficiency of electricity appliances, five percent reduction in electricity consumption, promotion of solar and wind energy, efficient lighting and reduction in vehicle mileage. Assuming that all measures are implemented, the study estimates a potential reduction of some 32 million tons of CO2 equivalent in 2025 (about 26% of emissions) in comparison to 2000.

As Israel prepares for the Climate Change Conference to be held in Copenhagen in December 2009, it remains committed to taking on the challenge of implementing mitigation and adaptation measures which will benefit both the country, on a national level, and the global environment, on an international level. The preparation of a climate change plan for Israel is expected to reduce local air pollution while boosting the Israeli economy, by increasing the number of people employed in the cleantech sector in Israel and by developing and transferring new technologies which will contribute to the global effort against climate change.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Story Not Found in any Newspaper

COHI, the Circle of Health International is a volunteer organization helping refugees who arrive in Israel. The story of these volunteers is never published in the International media and I hope that by sending out this story and others there can be a greater awareness of the humanitarian side of Israeli society.

Rochel Englander is the Group Organizer of the Sudanese Refugee Project and she writes the following:-

Being an active member of the Sudanese/Hillel refugee project is hard work but nothing can beat the satisfaction you get when you see the joy on a mother's face when her baby is handed to her for the first time. For those who are not aware, a group of midwives volunteering with COHI are participating in the Sudanese/Hillel Project in Arad, a small town in southern Israel, and in a women's shelter in Northern Israel. The aim of the project is to help and empower refugee women throughout the birthing process.

But unfortunately, not every birthing story has a happy ending. Working in this position exposes you to your fair share of heartbreaking situations. Here is one such story:

Recently, I was called in to deal with a Sudanese couple who had been through a harrowing experience.

The young couple had come from Sudan to Egypt in mid-April. The couple, along with the group that they had fled Sudan with, had attempted to jump the Egyptian border to get to Israel, but unfortunately, not everyone made it. The rest of the group was shot by the Egyptian border patrol and the young couple fled to the desert where they wandered for two days without any food or water.
The wife, 19 years old and pregnant for the first time, gave birth to a baby boy on a mountaintop in the desert. Because of the unforgiving desert conditions, the baby was dead by the time the Israeli army found them. The army doctor transported the couple on a helicopter to a hospital in Be'er Sheva. He stayed with them the entire day and even helped them find a Catholic priest and cemetery to bury their son. I cannot begin to express how impressed I was by the gentle treatment given to the couple by the army doctor and the Israeli border police. And it didn't just end there – it seemed like the entire community came to their aid, even students from the local university who donated clothes to the young couple. It appeared everyone was trying in their own way to soothe the pain of the turmoil that they had been through.

Unfortunately, the experience had left deep scars, not just physical but emotional as well. I stayed with them and explained what was going on as best I could. I helped the hospital staff in their care and was able to bring the community leaders from Arad to help explain the situation. But the husband was inconsolable and terrified. He didn't believe that the border police was not there to hurt him. He thought the nurses were typing a deportation notice on the computer, when in fact they were simply entering medical records.
The couple seemed a little reassured when the Sudanese community leader came and talked to them. They felt even better when they were released from the hospital, because they weren't sent to a detention center but were free to do as they pleased.

The wounds from the turmoil that the young couple went through cannot be easily healed. But when I, along with other members of our Program, went to visit them the young wife said they were doing a lot better but her “body still weeps a little bit.” When you've lost your first born in such terrifying circumstances, what mother's wouldn't?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More Discrediting of Goldstone

Justice Goldstone as Head of the UN Mission repeatedly insisted that the Mission was not a judicial inquiry and so "could not reach judicial conclusions". On this basis that he justified the inclusion of partisan mission members, admitting that their involvement "would not be appropriate for a judicial inquiry'.

However, now that we can read the Report, it is clearly highly judicial in nature, reaching conclusive judicial determinations of guilt, and including 'detailed legal findings' even in the absence of the sensitive intelligence information which Israel did not feel able to provide.

These determinations are made notwithstanding the Report's admission that it does not "pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials".

This alone discredits the report from the outset.

In the report itself there are an incredible number of inaccuracies:-

a) “The Mission found no evidence that members of Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat in civilian dress. It can, therefore, not find a violation of the obligation not to endanger the civilian population in this respect."

The Geneva protocol I article 37 paragraph 1 states: “ It is prohibited to kill, injure or capture an adversary by resort to perfidy. The following acts are examples of perfidy:
(a) the feigning of an intent to negotiate under a flag of truce or of a surrender;
(b) the feigning of an incapacitation by wounds or sickness;
(c) the feigning of civilian, non-combatant status; and
(d) the feigning of protected status by the use of signs, emblems or uniforms of the United Nations or of neutral or other States not Parties to the conflict.

And yet the mission found no evidence!! There are plenty of instances of Arab newspaper reports, Youtube videos and Hamas representatives making statements to the contrary and yet the mission did seem to be able to “find” this information.

b) In para 1720. The Mission also concludes that Israel, by deliberately attacking police stations and killing large numbers of policemen (99 in the incidents investigated by the Mission) during the first minutes of the military operations, failed to respect the principle of proportionality between the military advantage anticipated by killing some policemen who might have been members of Palestinian armed groups and the loss of civilian life. Therefore, these were disproportionate attacks in violation of customary international law. The Mission finds a violation of the right to life (Article 6 ICCPR) of the policemen killed in these attacks who were not members of Palestinian armed groups.

The clear conclusion is that if the majority of the 99 policemen killed in these specific attacks were members of armed groups, then Israel may have been justified in those attacks.

Well, guess what? The IDF released the names of those killed and the majority of the policemen they refer to were were members of terror groups.

Goldstone's flat-out statement that a majority were not members of armed groups is not true.

c) The Report
pretends to investigate whether Hamas used Gazans as human shields. As it does so, it bends over backwards to give the impression that Hamas is innocent even as the evidence it brings shows the opposite.

In addition, there are the
published reports in Arab media from January that Goldstone should have been aware of, saying that Hamas did force the Abd Rabbo family to stay where they were so that rockets could be fired from their neighborhood.

So here we have just a few examples of a totally biased report that ignored a lot of information that was available to it but hid this from the report since it would contradict the predetermined conclusions that were to be presented