Ben-Dror Yemini was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in 1954. He studied Humanities and History in Tel Aviv University, and later on he studies Law. After his university studies, he was appointed advisor to the Israeli Minister of Immigration Absorption and then became the spokesman of the Ministry. In 1984, he began his career as a journalist and essayist. He worked as a lawyer and was a partner in a law firm. Since 2003 he is the opinion-editor of the daily newspaper Maariv and also published many articles and essays in other journals.
Posted: Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:43 am Post subject: GOLDSTONE IS THE CRIMINAL - By Ben Dror Yemini
GOLDSTONE IS THE CRIMINAL
By Ben-Dror Yemini
September 25, 2009
Let's start at the end. Richard Goldstone perpetrated a moral crime. Not against the State of Israel but against human rights. He turned them into a weapon for dark regimes. Goldstone was not negligent. He did this with malice.
The criticism that was made in the first days following the report was on the basis of preliminary study. But time passes. And the more that the details of this report are revealed, the more it becomes clear that it is a libel. A libel with legal cover. A libel that was prepared in advance to incriminate the State of Israel, in the service of Libya and Iran. Goldstone willingly took up the loathsome role. He supplied these countries with the goods. The claim that "the discourse of rights" has become the dark forces' most effective tool is a familiar one. The Goldstone report is the supreme expression of this. Its legal terminology is exemplary. It gushes about international human rights treaties. But it cannot hide the result: It is a libelous indictment of the State of Israel, in the service of the axis of terrorism and evil. Yes, there is marginal very marginal lip service regarding criticism of Hamas. Goldstone's ilk is a sophisticated lot. They now reiterate from every stage, and Goldstone does it well, that they were actually objective. Here, they also leveled criticism at Hamas. How enlightened of them!
Goldstone sold his soul for an endless series of lies. Even Mary Robinson, who is not known as an admirer of Israel, understood that, "[urlhttp://www.atlanticblog.com/archives/002925.html]This is unfortunately a practice by the [UN Human Rights] Council: adopting resolutions guided not by human rights but by politics. This is very regrettable.[/url]" She refused to take the post. Goldstone took it and carried it out with excessive enthusiasm. If international law worked as it should, if the representatives of dark regimes did not have an automatic majority in it, Goldstone would have to stand trial. But this is impossible. And therefore, not only Israel but every moral person, every person for whom human rights are important, must declare Goldstone a criminal. Here is the proof.
There is no need to go far in order to expose the lies. It is possible to start with the first paragraph. There, Goldstone says that he was granted the authority, "to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza." Really?
At this stage, let us go to the UN Human Rights Council decision to appoint the mission. Article 14, regarding the mission's authority, says: "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."
The difference is Heaven and Earth. Goldstone, I repeat, is not stupid. He is a sophisticated jurist. He understands that the Human Rights Council decision puts him in a bind. There is no demand for an investigation. There are instructions to investigate only Israel, while fixing blame in advance. Thus Article 14 and thus others in the same document. How does Goldstone square the circle? First, he does not mention Article 14 which is the source of his authority throughout the entire report. And second, in cooperation with the Council President, who was authorized to appoint the mission (but not to change its responsibilities), the authorization is improved in order to present a false objectivity. You see, Goldstone will claim in fawning interviews we were authorized to investigate both sides. He is lying and he knows that he is lying.
We must tarry another moment on the Council's decision. Any enlightened person should give deference to human rights and the international bodies dealing with them. This Council is the UN's most important body. And indeed, it seems that 33 countries participated in the vote on establishing the mission. And the results: Not one western democracy supported the decision; most abstained. One country voted against Canada. The third-world countries voted in favor, as did all of the Islamic countries.
Can such an automatic majority of non-democratic countries be taken seriously? Certainly not. The Council will not send a Libyan representative to discuss human rights The representative from Pakistan, a country which caused millions of refugees only two months ago, in the framework of a just struggle against several hundred Taliban fighters will find it hard to talk about "collective punishment" on CNN. For the charade of accusing Israel, one needs an internationally renowned jurist. He'll do the work. The automatic dark majority does not need to convince itself. It needs someone to publish articles in The New York Times and Ha'aretz, and appear on the BBC.
This is how to turn Israel into a pariah. This is propaganda that even Goebbels the genius didn't dream of. He is also a Jew; he even has a "Zionist" past. There could be no casting more perfect.
A precise study of the report reveals how the libel was perpetrated. This is no cheap, old-fashioned libel. This is a much more sophisticated libel. Now it is called a "narrative." The Goldstone mission builds the narrative one stage after another. Does libel start with the Kassams that began to fall in 2001? No way. Does the Executive Summary say anything about the thousands of Kassams that have been fired since and have turned the lives of the residents of southern Israel into hell? Not with Goldstone. After the clauses regarding the appointment of the mission members, relevant international law, methodology and Israel's non-cooperation, the mission gets down to business. The findings. The factual determinations and the verdict.
And indeed, the narrative begins with Article 27 (of the Executive Summary), entitled "The Blockade." According to the article, Israel imposed a blockade. Why? What happened? How did it start? Were there thousands of rockets? Did Hamas take military control of the Strip, while massacring dozens maybe hundreds of Palestinians? There is not a word in the opening account. Neither is there any mention of Hamas's internal terrorism against innocent Palestinians.
And this isn't all. If there is a blockade, it is not only Israel's responsibility. The Hamas regime has a long border with Egypt. It seems that this border is completely open. Hundreds of tunnels operate there on a regular basis and deliver everything the Hamas regime wants. The mission's Executive Summary makes no mention of the tunnels, the open border with Egypt or the smuggling. And what does the report say about the blockade? "Gaza's economy is further severely effected by the reduction of the fishing zone open to Palestinian fishermen." This is an amazing example of the mission's being recruited for the industry of lies. And the Palestinians established industries before the "blockade"? See, there is free movement of materials, through the tunnels. The problem is that Hamas has chosen only one raw material. Explosives. And there is also a flourishing industry. The production of rockets. "For the Palestinian people," claimed Fathi Hamad, a Hamas member of Parliament, "death became an industry."
This even appears in Article 475. But Goldstone, the Devil's advocate, insists on blaming Israel. The same Fathi, in the same speech, admits with his own voice that Hamas, " created a human shield of women, children, [and] the elderly." This is also cited in the report. But Goldstone, " does not consider it to constitute evidence." (Article 476) Certainly. When the result has been pre-determined, even the explicit, filmed and recorded admission of a senior Hamas official, like the video footage of the use of children, will not change the conviction. Is it possible to call such work by Goldstone "negligence", or is it a crime, in the service of a terrorist regime?
Article 28 simplistically determines that Israel is the occupying power. Why? Because. Only in Article 88 does the mission see fit to mention the disengagement. As if it had no bearing on the story. As if Israel had not proven that it had no interest in the Strip. As if Israel had not fulfilled all of its obligations. As if Israel had not left the Palestinians to their fate, so that they could govern themselves, without a single soldier or settler.
Article 29 says that Israel embarked on Operation Cast Lead. Were there barrages of rockets beforehand? They appear later on but not in the Executive Summary. Apparently, they are not relevant. This is how one constructs a lie. Start with a blockade. Then a criminal assault. That's the Executive Summary.
The mission's lie repeats itself when it presents a false picture of permanent Israeli aggression. In exactly the same way, the mission says, in Article 193, that Israel began Operation Defensive Shield and caused the killing of hundreds of Palestinians. There is not even one word about the series of terrorist attacks on cafes, restaurants and buses. There is not one word about the Passover massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya, in which 30 Israelis were murdered a massacre which broke Israel's long restraint.
Article 30 deals with the number of casualties but ignores of course any study which proves that most of the Palestinian casualties were Hamas personnel. In order to strengthen the impression, the report presents the number of Palestinian dead as opposed to the number of Israelis. The proportionality creates the result. So many Palestinians were killed. So few Israelis. According to this logic, NATO perpetrated war crimes in bombing Yugoslavia in 1999, because the results were similar to those in Gaza: Over 1,000 Yugoslav dead (mostly civilians) and zero casualties among the NATO forces. Thus in Afghanistan as well. Far more Afghans, civilians and fighters, have been killed than NATO soldiers. Does this turn the NATO countries and soldiers into war criminals? And there will yet be proportionality issues. Pakistan sought to get rid of the vexing problem caused by several hundred Taliban fighters. It caused thousands of dead and millions of refugees. Thus also in Lebanon, when it was obliged to fight a few hundred Fatah al-Islam fighters. Their refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared, was destroyed. Hundreds were killed and tens of thousands became refugees.
The world understands that these are the proportions of dealing with terrorists, who hide among civilians. But when Goldstone comes to Israel he refuses to understand even though Hamas's threat to Israel is greater than the Taliban's threat to Europe or Fatah al-Islam's to Lebanon. Goldstone knows the new battlefields. But he ignores because the goal was to demonize Israel. And therefore, he must lie and mislead.
Article 32 deals with Israel's bombing of Palestinian Authority buildings, rejects the Israeli claim that these were part of the, "Hamas terrorist infrastructure," and determines that these were, "deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law." Certainly. If they ignore the fact that Hamas is a terrorist entity that uses terrorism mainly against innocent Palestinians as well the result is that this is a legitimate political body. Maybe even a charitable organization. Now it is possible to understand why the mission ignores the Hamas Covenant. It is no coincidence. It is easier to square the circle that way.
How is Hamas absolved of responsibility for serious crimes? The Goldstone report cites hundreds of inquiries that were carried out by various groups. One of the groups cited is, of course, Amnesty International, which has provided countless hostile reports against Israel. These are cited extensively. But there was another Amnesty report, issued on 21.2.09. This surprising report reviews a series of incidents in which Hamas eliminated dozens of Fatah members, during the time of Operation Cast Lead, in Gaza. And here's the surprise: Of all the reports, it is this one which is not mentioned in the Goldstone report. There is mention of attacks on Fatah personnel (in Article 80, for example), but with exaggerated effort to minimize the significance of the matter.
The general impression is that Goldstone is much more critical towards Fatah than towards Hamas. For example, Goldstone blames Fatah for the "refusal to cede control of the security institutions" in favor of the Hamas (Article 190), causing the confrontation between the factions. Hamas, according to the whole report, is a completely legitimate body that should control the security institutions. Goldstone stubbornly refuses to see the very anti-Semitic and terrorist nature of Hamas, an entity whose very existence is a crime against humanity.
It is possible to continue, article after article, in order to expose the construction of the deceptions and the lies. The mission details 36 factual events that prove, as it were, that Israel perpetrated war crimes. In their reduced framework below, let us examine the attack on the Abd Rabbo family. This event became one of the most prominent symbols of Operation Cast Lead, received widespread coverage and was mentioned in many reports. The Goldstone report devotes ten articles (768-777) to this incident. The mission repeated the claim that family members waived a white flag and that its daughters were murdered in cold blood by Israel. This claim is not only negligent, it is also a malicious lie. Thorough checks have shown that family members agave different and contradictory versions. One of the claims was that this was cold-blooded murder because there were no Hamas personnel in the area. It seems that this claim has also been refuted, by contradictory testimony, even by Time magazine, to the effect that there were indeed Hamas personnel in the area. Moreover, it seems that Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports that, "The Abd Rabbo family kept quiet while Hamas fighters turned their farm in the Gaza strip into a fortress." The testimony is contradictory and the Time and Al-Hayat Al-Jadida reports were supposed to be before the mission. But there is not even a hint of them in the Goldstone report, which publishes a libel, even though it has already been contradicted. The objective has been marked. The facts will not confuse the mission.
The foregoing is only the tip of the iceberg. Space is too short to detail the parade of lies known as "the Goldstone Report." We have presented here only isolated examples about the method. Goldstone, who chose to collaborate with the dark majority, supplied the goods. The report deserves a much closer study. The State of Israel must establish a commission of inquiry, led by top-notch jurists, in cooperation with their colleagues from around the world, in order to examine article after article, claim after claim, and refute the libel. The deeper one digs into the report, the more it becomes clear that Goldstone is a criminal hiding under the umbrella of human rights. On behalf of human rights, he and his lies must be exposed. The truth must come to light.
Richard Goldstone's long-awaited report has confirmed suspicions that his investigation is guided by an agenda to isolate Israel. The farcical investigative process has produced a report which vilifies Israel but helps little in better understanding the Gaza conflict.
Much was rightly made of the investigation's one-sided mandate, which erased Hamas's culpability. Panel member Christine Chinkin, branded Israel's Gaza operation a "war crime" before the inquiry had even begun. As a result, the Israeli government rightly recognised the warning signs and stayed away from the Goldstone process.
Equally worrying for the sceptics was the lack of transparency throughout the inquiry. Hand-picked "witnesses" were invited without explanation to testify before the mission. A hearing in Geneva, billed ostensibly as an opportunity to hear Israeli voices, became a cover for representatives of radical NGOs to spout propaganda with little direct significance to the conflict in Gaza.
Most notable was the appearance via video of Shawan Jabarin, director general of al-Haq, a Ramallah-based NGO which spearheads lawsuits against Israeli officials in courts across the world. Jabarin's contribution over events in Gaza is overshadowed by evidence that he is "among the senior activists of the Popular Front terrorist organisation". Al-Haq's allegations are cited at least 30 times in the report, but the critical context of his background is hidden.
Grave doubts over the investigative process have been realised by the mission's conclusions. These strengthen the game plan designed to condemn Israel. The report is replete with dubious statistics and sources. Casualty figures are quoted from the Gaza based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), a politically motivated organisation, which consistently refers to terrorism as "resistance". PCHR's faulty statistics include senior Hamas military figures such as Nizar Rayan and Said Siam, as civilians.
Yet it is perhaps what is missing which is most telling. Reading the report, one would be unaware of Hamas's human-shield strategy, a significant contributory factor to the civilian deaths in Gaza. Goldstone prefers to ignore the obvious. Although he states: "Palestinian armed groups were present in urban areas during the military operations and launched rockets from urban areas", he avoids the logical conclusion of the massive use of human shields. Of course, admitting that Hamas endangered Gazan citizens would provide an alternative to Israeli guilt. Yet, rather than state the inconvenient truth, the report reinforces preconceived Israeli culpability.
Goldstone is similarly evasive over the unreliability of key "eyewitnesses". Like the flood of NGO publications in the immediate aftermath of the conflict (particularly those by Human Rights Watch, of which Goldstone was a board member) Goldstone's so-called investigation is largely reliant upon "eyewitness" Gaza testimony. The report applies entirely illogical reasoning, failing to elaborate on "a certain reluctance by the persons interviewed in Gaza to discuss the activities of armed groups". This observation provides a glimpse of the dangers faced by those speaking out against the regime in Gaza, yet Goldstone omits to mention how Hamas intimidation undermines witnesses and with it the very foundation for his conclusions.
On the basis of such flimsy testimony, Goldstone's recommendations are particularly sinister. Although "the findings do not pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials", they will undoubtedly fuel a judicial campaign against Israel. Both Israel and the euphemistic "Gaza authorities" have been given six months to prove their mettle in investigating potential war crimes or face the prospect of becoming international pariahs at the international criminal court (ICC).
Realistically, no one can expect to hold to account a non-state actor such as Hamas, supported by Iran. Fewer still can imagine that any Israeli investigation will be judged by the UN framework as satisfactory. The Israeli authorities have already investigated more than 100 allegations of wrongdoing, with 23 cases still pending. These efforts were deemed insufficient before they began and one wonders how many convictions would have to be secured in Israeli courts to ward off the wrath of Goldstone.
Once again it is his sins of omission which truly undermine Goldstone's recommendations. Having condemned Israel's military campaign, Goldstone does little to provide solutions. He pays lip service to the complexities of asymmetric warfare, preferring the easy route of criticism. Rather than advise how to better stop groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad who deliberately target civilians, Goldstone opts for straightforward denunciation of Israel.
Of course, these are the same battle dilemmas facing UK and US armies in foreign fields. Until the issues are seriously addressed or, alternatively, forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are subjected to similar scrutiny, Goldstone and the NGOs and UN frameworks which threw their weight behind his mission will justifiably be viewed with suspicion.
Take A Pen thanks Mr. Dan Kosky for approving the use of his article.