In Goldstone's statement above, where does it say that the Israeli military did not commit war crimes or that it is not Israeli government policy to collectively punish Gazans aka crimes against humanity? Goldstone wrote that if he knew then what he knows now, the report would have been different
Does that mean no war crimes were committed? Is that how you interpret different?
Goldstone wrote, "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
". No doubt, but that doesn't mean that civilians weren't deliberately targeted by Israeli soldiers. In fact, the Israeli investigations have found that individual Israeli soldiers did commit war crimes and did deliberately target civilians. So far their punishment has been light to nothing.
I don't interpret Goldstone's statement as a repudiation. If you read it closely, its actually confirmation that war crimes occurred. The Israeli military's self investigation indicates (does not prove) that the Israeli military doesn't have a policy to target civilians. But that doesn't mean that individual soldiers did not commit war crimes. The most serious incident involved herding about 50 people into a house and then dropping a bomb on it. Goldstone isn't saying this incident didn't happen, only that the Israeli self investigation reveals this incident may be a result of negligence rather than a deliberate military policy to target civilians.
Goldstone wrote, "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."
The inquiry should have been public and third parties should have been able to challenge testimony and evidence. As a result Israel's self investigation is biased and flawed. Also "influenced" does lead to a conclusion that Israeli soldiers did not commit war crimes either. I also agree with Goldstone that the U.N. Human Rights Council is biased against Israel. That also does not mean Israeli soldiers did not commit war crimes.
Goldstone wrote, " 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."
That's certainly true. A flawed and biased self investigation is better than doing nothing. Against this does not mean Israeli soldiers did not commit war crimes.
I have always agreed with Goldstone that Palestinian militant rocket and mortar fire at Israeli civilians are war crimes. Recently Palestinian militants have increased the intensity, which means another Israeli attack is looming.
Goldstone does not say that using heavy artillery and white phosphorus in densely populated areas is not a war crime. He says that as a result of the Goldstone report, the Israeli military has changed its policies regarding tactics it can use in densely populated urban areas. That means limiting but not eliminating their use. But its still a war crime since heavy artillery is indiscriminate.
No doubt the Goldstone report would have been different if Israel had cooperated with their initial investigation I agree with Goldstone, that Israel has done more than nothing unlike Hamas. But Goldstone does not say the Israeli investigation was transparent and in good faith. He says the conclusion of McGowan Davis is that Israel has done this to a "significant degree".
These statements by Goldstone do not negate the Goldstone report. They indicate the report is is incomplete and missing information which should have been provided by Israel during the investigation.
Goldstone's statement does not repudiate these findings:
The Mission holds the view that Israel continues to be duty-bound under the Fourth Geneva Convention and to the full extent of the means available to it to ensure the supply of foodstuff, medical and hospital items and other goods to meet the humanitarian needs of the population of the Gaza Strip without qualification.
The Mission also concludes that the policemen killed on 27 December 2008 cannot be said to have been taking a direct part in hostilities and thus did not lose their civilian immunity from direct attack as civilians on this basis.
On 15 January 2009, the field office compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Gaza City came under shelling with high explosive and white phosphorous munitions. The Mission notes that the attack was extremely dangerous, as the compound offered shelter to between 600 and 700 civilians and contained a huge fuel depot. The Israeli armed forces continued their attack over several hours despite having been fully alerted to the risks they created.
The Mission concludes that the Israeli armed forces violated the requirement under customary international law to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and method of attack with a view to avoiding and in any event minimizing incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.
the Israeli armed forces directly and intentionally attacked al-Quds hospital in Gaza City and the adjacent ambulance depot with white phosphorous shells. The attack caused fires which took a whole day to extinguish and caused panic among the sick and wounded who had to be evacuated.
intense artillery attacks, again including white phosphorous munitions, on al-Wafa hospital in eastern Gaza City, a facility for patients receiving long-term care and suffering from particularly serious injuries.
In the majority of these incidents, the consequences of the Israeli attacks against civilians were aggravated by their subsequent refusal to allow the evacuation of the wounded or to permit access to ambulances.
Based on its investigation of incidents involving the use of certain weapons such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, the Mission, while accepting that white phosphorous is not at this stage proscribed under international law, finds that the Israeli armed forces were systematically reckless in determining its use in built-up areas.
the destruction of industrial infrastructure, food production, water installations, sewage treatment plants and housing (chap. XIII). Already at the beginning of the military operations, el-Bader flour mill was the only flour mill in the Gaza Strip still operating. The flour mill was hit by a series of air strikes on 9 January 2009, after several false warnings had been issued on previous days. The Mission finds that its destruction had no military justification. The nature of the strikes, in particular the precise targeting of crucial machinery, suggests that the intention was to disable the factory’s productive capacity. From the facts it ascertained, the Mission finds that there has been a violation of the grave breaches provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The chicken farms of Mr. Sameh Sawafeary in the Zeytoun neighbourhood south of Gaza City reportedly supplied over 10 per cent of the Gaza egg market. Armoured bulldozers of the Israeli armed forces systematically flattened the chicken coops, killing all 31,000 chickens inside, and destroyed the plant and material necessary for the business.
The Israeli armed forces also carried out a strike against a wall of one of the raw sewage lagoons of the Gaza wastewater treatment plant, which caused the outflow of more than 200,000 cubic metres of raw sewage onto neighbouring farmland.
The Mission investigated four incidents in which the Israeli armed forces coerced Palestinian civilian men at gunpoint to take part in house searches during the military operations (chap. XIV). The men were blindfolded and handcuffed as they were forced to enter houses ahead of the Israeli soldiers.
the Israeli armed forces rounded up large numbers of civilians and detained them in houses and open spaces in Gaza and, in the case of many Palestinian men, also took them to detention facilities in Israel. In the cases investigated by the Mission, the facts gathered indicate that none of the civilians was armed or posed any apparent threat to the Israeli soldiers. Civilians, including women and children, were detained in degrading conditions, deprived of food, water and access to sanitary facilities, and exposed to the elements in January without any shelter. The men were handcuffed, blindfolded and repeatedly made to strip, sometimes naked, at different stages of their detention. Israeli troops had dug out sandpits in which Palestinian men, women and children were detained. Israeli tanks and artillery positions were located inside the sandpits and around them and fired from next to the detainees.
The razing of farmland and the destruction of greenhouses are expected to further worsen food insecurity despite the increased quantities of food items allowed into Gaza since the beginning of the military operations. Dependence on food assistance increases. Levels of stunting and thinness in children and of anaemia prevalence in children and pregnant women were worrying even before the military operations.
eao: I'm not a military expert. Perhaps someone here can explain the military requirement for destroying farmland to create a Star of David? I also doubt the Israeli military had a policy to do this. But obviously someone did.
Jewish Star in Gaza field causes stir
The level of goods allowed into Gaza before the military operations was, however, insufficient to meet the needs of the population even before hostilities started, and has again decreased since the end of the military operations. From the facts ascertained by it, the Mission believes that Israel has violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital objects, food and clothing (article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). The conditions of life in Gaza, resulting from deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Government of Israel – as they were presented by its authorized and legitimate representatives – with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation, cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip in violation of international humanitarian law. the Mission is of the view that some of the actions of the Government of Israel might justify a competent court finding that crimes against humanity have been committed.
approximately 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been detained by Israel. According to estimates, as at 1 June 2009, there were approximately 8,100 Palestinian “political prisoners” in detention in Israel, including 60 women and 390 children.
In the West Bank, Israel has long imposed a system of restrictions on movement. Movement is restricted by a combination of physical obstacles, such as roadblocks, checkpoints and the Wall, and 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. Israel’s Ministry of Housing and Planning is planning a further 73,000 settlement homes 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 double.
I don't think Goldstone's April 1 statement "repudiates" the Goldstone report. I think it indicates that Goldstone now believes that some incidents which appear to be war crimes were not a result of deliberate Israeli government or military policy.
BTW, I am glad Israel has done their self investigation. Unless Hamas also does their own investigation and prosecutes its war criminals, I see no reason for Israel to impose harsh sentences on their war criminals until Hamas is ready to do the same, which is unlikely. Like Goldstone, I also give Israel credit for their flawed and biased investigations.
Last edited by earth_as_one; Apr 4th, 2011 at 08:28 AM..