Wednesday 30 September 2009

Fighting Goldstone.

As predicted the UN Human Rights train is rolling. It's destination predetermined by those that control the railroad. It is steaming ahead carrying Israel, inevitably, to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Along the way it is picking up passengers that will be condemned when the train reaches its final station.
Israelis dare not travel for fear of summary arrest and being placed in the cattle car to a fate that singles out the Jews from any other nation or race.
And as the cattle cars, full of protesting Jewish victims, rolls under the gate of the final destination they will see the sign has been changed.
No longer 'Arbeit Macht Frei'. Now the sign reads 'Our Facts Will Imprison You'.
The Jew, again, denigrated and condemned by those with a passion to elicit a judgment against Israel that they dare not apply to any other country or people.
The Jew, in the form of Israel, is to become the eternal pariah.
As in the past, they have recruited their kappo. In this case a learned and respected jurist of the Jewish faith to be their front man. Whether through an academic sense of justice, ego, or ambition, Richard Goldstone took the path where others feared to tread.
However this ends, he will forever be portrayed as a modern day Judas.

A report has been delivered that is rife with deliberate avoidance of fairness and balance, a carefully pre-selected time frame that eliminates any explanation, defence, or historic perspective that would justify Israel's actions in Gaza, and false conclusions that condemns Israel for crimes not committed.

Richard Goldstones statement to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 September is fraught with disingenuous comments.
He said that his committee had accepted their brief 'out of a deep concern for the hundreds of civilians who needlessly died'. Yet his committee gave only token attention to the eight years of thousands of rocket and mortar attacks coming from Gazan territory into Israel's civilian population. Israelis lined up to give their narrative. Goldstone refused to accept their evidence.

They pre-decided to select the time frame of 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009 to avoid having to seriously consider the historic background of the Gaza conflict. By doing so they eliminated the need to pass judgment of eight years of war crimes and human right abuses by the Hamas regime in Gaza.
Their clock only started ticking when Israel retaliated in self defence.

Richard Goldstone lied when he told the world that his committee had been instructed 'to investigate all violations of international law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza'.
This is not true.
In Article 14 of the UN HRC decision to appoint the committee it clearly instructs them 'to investigate all violations of international law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people due to the current aggression'.
What further proof is needed to show such one-sided and biased instruction?

In advance of the committee's work one of the jurists, Professor Christine Chinkin, an expert in international law, signed a petition published in the British Sunday Times that determined, prior to any fact-finding mission, that Israel had committed war crimes.

When the commission was presented by a law suit calling for her dismissal as a biased juror it was summarily dismissed.
There is no difference between Chinkins bias and that if the UN Human Rights Council.
The identity between Goldstone and the Council is this predisposition is absolute.

Let me go back one further step. The first station on the journey to Geneva and The Hague was the one that called for the investigation. Thirty three countries participated in the vote to establish the mission to Gaza. One country only voted against. That was Canada. Not one western democratic country supported the decision. The vote was made up entirely of third world and Islamic countries. Needless to say, many have the most atrocious record in human rights abuses.

Mary Robinson, a darling of the UN Human Rights Council and no great friend of Israel was asked to chair the committee in its fact-finding mission to Gaza. She refused saying that it was 'guided not by human rights, but by politics'.

The Goldstone report, a result of the Missions investigation, is less a fact-finding exercise and more of a lie-finding one.
The committee found time to ask inane, one sided, often irrelevant questions of witnesses while refusing to admit eye-witnesses to Hamas terror attacks or to listen to expert witnesses who are able to clarify the actions of the IDF in Gaza. Experts such as Colonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and an expert in warfare in urban conditions such as Gaza. Failure to consider his statement, or those of Israeli victims of Hamas aggression against civilian targets, or even for the Goldstone committee to look into the massacre by Hamas of Fatah Palestinians in Gaza during the conflict, amount to a massive suppression of evidence.

Palestinian testimony was taken under the watchful eye of Hamas minders. Goldstones committee seemed oblivious that such 'evidence' is surely tainted with fear of retribution.
Neither did the committee consider it beneficial to conduct such interviews in privacy.
On the other hand the report declares that Israel may penalise witnesses. What one-sided cant!

A glaring fault is the UN Human Rights Council constant referral of Hamas as the Gazan authority. Despite the established fact that Hamas is internationally condemned as a terror organisation Goldstone never uses the 'terror' word and refers to Hamas as a civil authority.
This is vitally important for, by doing so, it can refer to Israeli attacks against the Hamas infrastructure as attacks against civilian targets and, therefore, war crimes.

Neither, in the eyes of the Goldstone committee, are there any Palestinian terror organisations. Occasional reference is made to 'armed groups' though none are given an identity.
Goldstone, it seems, has never heard of Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade, the PFLP, and others. To Goldstone, Hamas does not participate in any armed, military, or terror, activities. They are a civilian authority in their white-wash of Hamas in Gaza. This gives them the loophole to portray Hamas as an innocent civil force for good.

In their questioning of Palestinians they never ask if any members of the family belong to any terror organisation, whether homes were used as storage facilities for weapons, whether any member of the family belonged to 'armed groups' , or were actively fighting in the conflict.
All were innocent civilians or, as on one family case, farmers.
Until, that is, one turns to the facts given by the IDF, in advance of the UN Human Rights investigation and freely available, that several were wanted terrorists guilty of numerous actions against Israeli civilians and against IDF soldiers.
Of course, it is not convenient for the Goldstone committee to consider IDF statistics as reliable.
It does not fit into their pre-arranged concept of 'fact-finding'.

His definition of witnesses as 'credible and reliable' cannot be dismissed even when clearly identified as being members of Palestinian terror organisations.

Goldstone does not consider properties hit or destroyed as having been used for terrorist activities. All are civilian in nature.

Neither does Goldstone take into consideration that certain buildings could have been hit by a misdirected missile.
In his book, 'Israel went out of its way to deliberately target civilian infrastructure and collectively punish the people of Gaza'.

Israel may yet answer the Goldstone Report point by point. It is certain that Hamas, the Gaza authority, will not be held to any accountability.

The perpetrators of the UN Human Rights Council report will not be satisfied with a reading of the report to the UN Security Council.

They want that train to keep rolling until it arrives at The Hague, the doors of the cattle wagons are opened, and the Jews of Israel are herded into the Auschwitz dock of perpetual discrimination.

Sunday 27 September 2009

A critical review of the Goldstone Report


The UN Human Rights Council will debate the report prepared by a mission headed by Richard Goldstone this week in Geneva.
The report investigated the Gaza conflict.
There is a resolution to send the issue to the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

No matter that this report was damned even before its genesis into an official United Nations Mission.

Richard Goldstone said that he accepted his role "because my fellow-commissioners are professionals, committed to an objective investigation".

Mission member, Christine Chinkin, pre-judged Israel's actions in Gaza to be war crimes. In a letter to the Sunday Times, she and other signators, said that Israel's actions against Hamas attacks were 'acts of aggression, not self defense', thereby pre-judging the investigation before it began.

Mary Robinson, no great friend of Israel, refused to head the UN Mission saying that it was "guided not by human rights but by politics".

The UN Mission failed to include the statistics of over seven thousand rockets fired indiscriminately into Israeli civilian areas over an eight year period. It failed to include the Israelis killed and injured, and the tens of thousands terrorized during this pre-Gaza conflict period.
They considered that their brief only applied to the subsequent conflict, thereby divorcing the significance of the background and build up to events in the Gaza Strip. Doing so, radically reduced the justification of Israel's defensive measures.

This also flies in the face of the official brief given to the Mission by the President of the UN Human Rights Council who, on 3rd April 2009, instructed the Committee 'to investigate all violations of international law that might have been committed at any time in the context of the military operations conducted in Gaza from 27.11.08 to 18.1.098 whether before, during, or after.

The Committee decided to focus primarily on events after 19 June 2008 when a ceasefire was agreed. They did not reason to consider the intensive and continuous rocket and mortar attacks that had created the situation in which Israel was forced to take action to protect its citizens.
The Committee was supposed to take into serious consideration the credibility and reliability of witnesses, verify sources, and cross-reference relevant material and information. This they failed to do.

The Committee did not attempt to identify the individuals responsible for the commission of offences. Neither did they pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials. Yet they stated, from their one-sided and dubious eyewitness testimony that they had found 'significant elements of crimes'.

Their significant elements of proof were derived and reliant on testimony given by witnesses under the watchful eye of Hamas handlers and not in private and closed environments.
Goldstone admits, in his report, that 'there was a certain reluctance by the persons interviewed in Gaza to discuss the activities of armed groups.'
I bet there was! But why didn't Goldstone and his fellow-commissioners demand to interview witnesses free from Hamas intimidation?

Goldstone's observations provide a glimpse into the dangers faced by those speaking against the regime in Gaza.
Goldstone's failure to address the issue of Hamas intimidation undermines the very basis of his conclusions.

None of the witnesses were asked questions relating to Palestinian terrorist activities in civilian areas, location of weapons. This supports the case that they were party to a biased political campaign and not a neutral, fact-finding, mission.

Even when Hamas terrorists mixed with the civilian population, the UN Mission rejects the notion that there was any intention to deliberately put civilians at risk.

In Gaza, the UN Committee investigated thirty six incidents. Let me highlight one of them.

Khaled Muhammad Abd Rabbo reported the deaths of two of his children on 7th January 2009. Their house is in Jabaliya near the Israel border. He claimed that he saw no armed Palestinian activity in the area. he further claimed that Israeli tanks took position near his house. He said that soldiers, using a megaphone, caled residents to come out of their houses. His family came out holding a white flag and one of the soldiers got out of a tank and fired at his children for no reason.

Contrary to the claims of Abd Rabbo, Palestinian sources reported on armed Palestinian acitivites in the area of his house and on an exchnage of gunfire between Palestinian and IDF forces.

At the time Khaled claimed his children were killed four other Palestinians were killed nearby. They were Ibrahmim Abd al-Rahim Sulieman, an Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade terrorist, Shadi Issam Hamad, a terrorist belonging to the PFLP, Muhammad Ali al-Sultan and Ahmad Adib Faraj Juneid, both Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade terrorists.

The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigade report on the incident reveals information about the echange of fire between the IDF and the terrorists in the area where Khaled Abu Rabbo's children were killed.
He, however, did not tell the UN Commission about this exchange of fire.
The possibility exists that his children were killed by Palestinian gunfire as no autopsy took place.

For Goldstone, it may be inconceivable that someone would blatantly lie about the death of his children.
There is , however, a known factor in this area that people prefer to advance the Palestinian nationalist cause by glorifying the death of children by turning them into martyrs. True, his children were tragic victims, but a place in history is preferable to the truth in Palestine.

Goldstone, however, reported Abd Rabbo's account as fact - and also as a war crime committed by Israel.
A second glaring incident reported by the UN Human Right Mission against Israel involved statements given by Wali and Salah al-Samouni.

They described the shelling of Wali's house where the extended al-Samouni family had taken shelter. They told the committee that, on 5th January 2009, Israeli helicopters fired a missile at them as they left the house. This was followed by more missiles fired at the house. After the incident the wounded went down Salah a-Din Street and were refused medical aid by the IDF soldiers who fired shots over their heads to frighten them away.

They claimed that there had been no armed Palestinians and no activity around the house. Salah al-Samouni told the UN members that, "Everyone is a farmer. I swear to Allah that everyone is a farmer".

The UN Mission questioned him about damages caused by the IDF to his house, to the surrounding area, even down to statistics as to the size of the agricultural area destroyed by the IDF.

The UN Mission did not ask about the identity of the dead Palestinians in this incident. Nor did they ask about the possibility that they may have been terrorist operatives. It did not challenge their claim that there were no armed Palestinians in the area, despite the reports at the time both by both Palestinian terrorist organisations and by the IDF about exchanges of fire in the immediate area.

The UN Mission, headed by Goldstone, did not press witnesses about his claim that soldiers did not provide medical attention, in contradiction given by a female member of the family who had told the B'tselem NGO that soldiers had given them medical aid.

A simple examination of freely available Palestinian sources shows that both Wali and Salah al-Samouni hid important details from the Committee which could shed light on the event.
At least three members of the family were affiliated with the Islamic Jihad. Tawfiq Rashad Hilmi al-Samouni, who was killed on 5th January, was an Islamic Jihad terrorist. A Palestinian leaflet depicts a picture of an armed Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni with the caption "He along with mujahadin Walid Rashad al-Samouni, blew up a tank, causing the deaths of a number of Zionists on the first night of the war south of the Zeitun neighbourhood."

The family insist that there was no Palestinian terrorist activities near the house and that the nearest activity was at least a mile away and that was limited to firing rockets into Israel.

Islamic Jihad reported, however, that its fighters had fired an RPG at an Israeli tank and had opened fire on the enemy. At 1.20 a.m. an Islamic Jihad engineering unit detonated a 50 kg. bomb near an Israeli tank by the Al-Tawhid mosque near the house od Wali al-Samouni.

At 6.30 a.m. the Islamic Jihad engineering unit detonated another bomb near an IDF infantry unit. According to another official statement, one of its operatives, Muhammad Ibrahim al-Samouni was killed in fighting in the area.

Yet, according to the UN Goldstone Report, these ' innocent farmers' and their family were deliberately targeted and killed by Israel and this amounts to a war crime.

My colleague. Maurice Ostroff, has been able to conduct an unsatisfactory email correspondence with Richard Goldstone.

Ostroff questioned why Goldstone did not call epert witnesses and he quoted Colonel Richard Kemp, C.B.E. , former Commander of British forces in Afghanistan who praised the IDF as "having made more effort to reduce civilian casualties and deaths than any military force in history".

These measures included dropping over 900,000 leaflets over Gaza warning residents to move to safe areas in advance of military actions. The IDF also sent thousands of SMS text messages and over 30,000 phone calls to Gazan households urging them in Arabic to leave homes where Hamas may have stashed weapons or be preparing to fight.

Each day the IDF declared a three-hour cease fire in order to allow over one thousand five hundred trucks of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
This only stopped temporarily whenever Hamas targeted the crossing points.
The UN Mission dismissed these measures as 'ineffective'.

Despite Kemp's expertise in urban warfare against terrorists and insurgents in places such as Basra and Fallujah in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the Goldstone Committee to today refuse to consider calling him to give evidence as a professional witness.

Other submissions and evidence have been sent either directly to Goldstone and to the UN Human Rights Council. Many clearly show blatant war crimes perpetrated by Hamas. All have been summarily swept aside by the Goldstone Committee.

Goldstone told Ostroff that time restraints have prevented him from broadening his scope to include those who can shine a different light on his Committee's conclusions.

While the report paased judgment against Israel in respect to almost every allegation it seeks to absolve Hamas of almost any wrongdoing. The word 'terrorist' is almost entirely absent. Thousands of rocket attacks against civilian centers in Israel receives only token mention and are termed 'reprisals'.

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council received so-called evidence from Shawan Jabarin, director-general of Al-Haq, a Ramallah-based MGO.

As with many Palestinian representatives, Jabarin wears two hats. he is also a leader of the PFLP terrorist organisation which does not shy away from acts of murder and attempted murder. This organisation denies the most fundamental human right - the right to life.

Goldstone received his statements, but not people like Colonel Richard Kemp. Goldstone reportedly slept when a Sderot NGO group showed video of Israeli children being traumatised by falling Hamas rockects on their schools and playgrounds.

And so, the Goldstone Report returns to Geneva this week.

Is Goldstone so naive as to imagine that although his findings 'do not pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials' that his colleagues on the UN Human Rights Council, with their ulterior motives, and others out to get Israel, will not fuel a judicial campaign against Israel especially as he has given Israel six months to respond to his biased report or face the potential of being dragged to the International Criminal Court at The Hague?

Israel has already investigated over one hundred allegations of wrongdoing with twenty three cases still pending. These efforts were deemed insufficient by his Commiteee.

On the other hand, no investigation can be expected to be conducted by either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. Neither can we expect a non-state party such as Hamas to be held to accountability, or to be brought to trial for proven war crimes.
Today it is Israel on the altar of political bias. Tomorrow it will be American and Britain.
On 17 September, 2009, an Afghan Presidential Panel claimed that thirty Afghan civilians were killed in a US airstrike.
Will we see the UN Human Rights Council investigate the military activities of Coalition forces fighting Al-Qaida and the Taliban in the civilian areas of Afghanistan as Obama decides to increase his strikeforce there?

Last week, Sir Jock Stirrup, the UK Chief of Staff visited Israel. It was whispered in his ear that what the Israeli IDF and leaders face today can comfortably apply to British forces and politicians next.

The American and British forces in both Iraq and in Afghanistan use the same weaponry, the same tactics, when fighting their terrorist enemy in their urban warfare. Their enemy also uses the same human shield and tactics in these fields of operation.

Western countries have a vested interest in protecting Israel and containing the fall-out of the Goldstone Report.

Thursday 17 September 2009

The Goldstone Report. Where is it heading?

Where were the protests in the last few years about the war crimes perpetrated against Israel by both Hizbollah from Lebanon and then by Hamas in Gaza? Where were the Human Rights groups? Where was the UN Human Rights Council?
They stayed stoically silent as first thousand of Hizbollah Katusha rockets rained down on Israeli towns and villages. They did not issue a word when, later, eight thousands Kassam rockets slammed into towns, schools, kindergartens. Their silence was palpable as rockets slammed into civilian centers in Israel killing, maiming, and destroying.
Thousands of rockets deliberately targeted the Israeli civilian population was clearly a war crime. Yet no Human Rights Watch and no UN Committee considered this worthy of investigation. Only total silence.

Israel responds to the continuous and growing threat of larger and more sophisticated rockets and, suddenly, these austere organisations find their voice and begin to take action - against Israel.

It was as if they had been waiting to the inevitable response. It was if it was all planned in advance. Attack, attack, and keep attacking the Jewish State and when they act to put an end to it we will be waiting for them..

A committee was formed to reach a premeditated conclusion. They searched and found the perfect head of their committee of investigation. A renowned Jew whose deliberations would be interpreted as 'Look! Even a learned Jew condemns Israel's actions!'

And so the UN report on the Gaza conflict had its token Jew. It's aims, from the start, was to conclude that Israel's actions in Gaza were unlawful, unjustifiable, and they amounted to war crimes.

Headed by Judge Goldstone they listed the lies and portrayed them as facts and evidence. They spent time exploring sites and reporting that they were civilian, educational, religious buildings when they had been targeted by the IDF when sheltering terrorists or being used as weapon storage facilities.

The Goldstone Report references Islamic terrorists as being 'policemen'. Nowhere in his Gaza report does he include any mention to booby trapped schools. Nor does he investigate the cold-blooded slaughter of Palestinians by fellow Palestinians in Gaza during the conflict as worthy of mention or consideration as a crime.

Let me make it clear. The Goldstone Report is not an end in itself.
The perpetrators of this committee have another agenda. It is an agenda they have been working towards for some time.
From its inception the aim has been to drag Israel into the International Court of Criminal Justice in The Hague.
Mark my words. Israeli leaders and IDF officers will be named, accused, and charged to appear in the dock.

And here is the danger not only for Israel but for all those who attempt to fight tyranny.
Jews/Israelis are always the first on the chopping block. They are never the last.
What is bad for Israel today will be far worse for American leaders and officers tomorrow. Already the Obama Administration is forcing an issue of CIA abuses against terrorists that can result in the naming of CIA agents and military officers.
British and American actions in Iraq and in Afghanistan have so far avoided the spotlight. This has been partly due to the reluctance of much of the Western media to examine the result of their brave soldiers actions in these war zones. It is partly due to military and Government censorship. It is also partly due to the powerful political clout that America and Britain have in the UN. A political clout that an isolated Israel does not have.

However, it is clear to any semi-knowledgeable person that the same rules apply whether fighting Hamas and Islamic terror in the confines of Gaza or taking on the Taliban in the villages and alleyways of Afghanistan.
Targets are carefully chosen, armaments are selected, yet innocent people get killed in such urban warfare.
It is unjust to claim that Coalition forces go about their actions to intentionally harm the civilian population in Iraq or Afghanistan.
It is equally unjust to accuse the IDF of deliberately targeting civilians.

However, justice is not the name of the game. The radical and premeditated aim of the Goldstone report was to create the indictment that will cause the UN to bring Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
And Richard Goldstone became the patsy when he accepted the brief to head the committee.
yes, he gave lip-service to suspected Palestinian war crimes but these will be drowned out by the baying for Jewish blood by the anti-Israel lobby groups worldwide.

This leaves Israel exposed to the abuses of 'political correctness'. Israel waits, like the sacrificial lamb, to be called to its slaughter on the altar of the Human Rights court.

Should Israel become the initial scapegoat for the free world's war on Islamic terror then, with clear certainty, America and Britain will surely follow Israel into the dock and be condemned for the actions they take in fighting the scourge that is, today, throttling the attempt at brave action taken in defence of freedom and liberty.