“Don’t count on Goldstone to curb Israel’s response to attacks on Tel Aviv”

November 02, 2009

* The UN General Assembly has advanced its debate on the Goldstone report to this Wednesday, bringing Israel a step closer to being sent to the International Criminal Court.

* Richard Goldstone will now be lionized from Pyongyang to Ouagadougou and all points between. Streets will be named after him, university chairs will be endowed in his honor and state medals will be struck for this great class-struggler. But to senior legal colleagues in South Africa, he will always be Richard Richard Goldstone.

* Richard Richard? “Oh yes,” says a former senior colleague who was close to Goldstone for many years. “We believed that he saw himself as a future secretary-general of the United Nations. At the time, Boutros Boutros Ghali held the post, so it seemed a logical progression for Goldstone to become Richard Richard.”

* While many of his countrymen were fighting against the apartheid regime, Goldstone was loftily administering the regime’s laws from the bench of the Supreme Court. Then, just as apartheid was reaching its tipping point, the opportunist Goldstone jumped.

***

* “Israel’s enemies are counting on Goldstone to protect them, but they are wrong.” If Hamas’s new Iranian-supplied long-range rockets hit Tel Aviv, “Israel’s response will make Operation Cast Lead appear like a tiny scratch in the Middle East’s violent history.”

* While Sderot sustained rocket attacks for eight years until the military and political conditions “were ripe” for a retaliatory strike in Gaza, Tel Aviv will not sustain such attacks for eight days; not even for eight hours.

 

CONTENTS

1. UN General Assembly will debate the Goldstone report on Wednesday
2. J Street steps in on Goldstone’s behalf
3. Israeli doctor: Dear Judge Goldstone, the Hamas doctors deceived you
4. How reliable is the evidence of those Palestinian doctors?
5. “Richard Richard” Goldstone’s motives in joining the human rights industry
6. “Don’t count on Goldstone to curb Israel’s response to attacks on Tel Aviv”
7. Human rights nightmare (video)
8. “You have been deceived” (By Dr. David Zangen, Ma’ariv, Oct. 27, 2009)
9. “Who is Goldstone to judge?” (By Douglas Davis, The Spectator, Oct. 24, 2009)
10. “Israel’s enemies are wrong” (By Alex Fishman, Yediot Ahronot, Oct. 26, 2009)


UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY TO DEBATE THE GOLDSTONE REPORT ON WEDNESDAY

[All notes below by Tom Gross]

Various people have asked for more commentary on the Goldstone Report, and because this is an important subject, I attach three more articles and some other related notes. I have prepared summaries first for those who don’t have time to read the articles in full.

The UN General Assembly will debate the Goldstone report on Wednesday, in an attempt to turn it over to the International Criminal Court at The Hague for prosecution. A previous attempt to bring the report before the General Assembly was derailed by a U.S.-led vote to defer the discussion. A barrage of international pressure against Israel is continuing as a result of the report, which is proving to be one of the most damaging weapons used against the Jewish state in recent years.

Pro-Palestinian legal activists funded by American and European NGOs and European governments have already filed hundreds of cases under universal jurisdiction statutes in third-party countries against Israelis who served in the army during the operation, and even against some who didn’t. Those named in such petitions face arrest and make it impossible for Israeli leaders as well as Israeli laypeople to visit such nations.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned that Israel will take no further “risks for peace” if it is attacked from lands it withdraws from and the international community does not back its right to self-defense.

 

J STREET STEPS IN ON GOLDSTONE’S BEHALF

J Street, the increasingly influential Jewish-led but partially Arab-funded Washington pressure group, is today reported to be actively lobbying members of the U.S. Congress not to vote to condemn Goldstone’s UN report that accuses Israel of war crimes. Many members of Congress want to urge the Obama administration to distance itself from Goldstone and his report.

House Resolution 867 which is scheduled to be voted on tomorrow – and which J Street is trying to change – “calls on the President and the Secretary of State to oppose unequivocally any endorsement or further consideration of the ‘Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’ in multilateral fora.”

J Street is widely detested in Israel for the moral and sometimes practical support it gives Israel’s enemies. In particular, Israelis across the political spectrum were outraged by J Street’s attempt to lobby Obama not to impose “artificial deadlines” and “harsher sanctions” against Iran in effort to stop the regime’s nuclear program.

 

For previous commentary by myself and others on the Goldstone report, please see items in these dispatches, which can be read here:

* Does Obama believe in human rights? (and what that might mean for Israel) (Oct. 25, 2009)
* HRW senior staff compare Israeli conduct to 3.5 m. dead and raped in Congo (Oct. 23, 2009)
* As the UN endorses Goldstone report, even Goldstone now criticizes the UN (Oct. 17, 2009)
* Even B’Tselem now criticizes Goldstone (& Saudi Arabia’s interfaith Nazi) (Oct. 1, 2009)
* “Goldstone’s crime against human rights” (& a mental patient at the UN) (Sept. 29, 2009)
* Transcript: CNN grills Netanyahu on Israeli “war crimes” (& other items) (Sept. 23, 2009)
* Dachau survivor asks Goldstone: How dare you? (& Peres: Goldstone “legitimized terrorism”) (Sept. 21, 2009)

 

SUMMARIES

DEAR JUDGE GOLDSTONE, THE HAMAS DOCTORS DECEIVED YOU

In the first article below, Dr. David Zangen, writing in Israel’s second most popular newspaper, Ma’ariv, says:

Dear Judge Goldstone, I am a consultant in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. Over half my patients are Palestinians from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. I speak Arabic and initiated the first training program for Palestinian physicians in the field of Pediatric Endocrinology. The trained physicians were fully respected and were included as first authors on our studies that we published in the world’s leading professional journals.

But I also happened to be the Chief Medical Officer of my brigade during Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin in 2002. I was responsible for the medical treatment of Israeli soldiers and also for enabling the Palestinian hospital in Jenin to provide full medical services to the civilian population. I was personally involved in numerous medical treatments that Palestinians (including fighters) received from Israeli physicians.

During and after the operation the director of Jenin Hospital was a source for what has been falsely called the “massacre in Jenin in which 5,000 people were slaughtered.” This same person, Dr. Abu Rali, has also claimed that one part of the Jenin hospital was destroyed by Israeli tank missiles: “12 tank rockets destroyed the hospital.”

You should know, honorable Judge, that these statements have been proven and documented as outright lies… Photographs of Jenin Hospital following the operation, showed no evidence of any destruction at the hospital buildings.

… It is hard to believe that a director of a hospital can give such an obviously false testimony. I cannot understand it. And you cannot understand it. But, unfortunately, this is what has happened.

… Tragically, moral misbehavior of doctors in the Palestinian Authority is not new. The pediatrician, George Habash, sent his terrorists to kill children in Israeli schools, as did Hamas’ leader and pediatrician, Dr. Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, as well as pediatrician, Dr Mahmud Zaher, who continues to encourage the launching of rockets from Gaza against innocent Israeli schools.

Please Judge Goldstone, you should really be careful when such blatant liars serve as the basis for your report. I am sure that you mean well, but being an eyewitness, both to the events in Jenin and to the subsequent media, and initially false, UN reporting, I do understand what happened to you, how a person of such stature and integrity could become associated with such a faulty report.

Look, Judge Goldstone, at your report on the Al Fakhura incident on January 5-6, 2009 (paragraphs 651-688). You report how Israel was accused for directly bombing the UNRWA school. It took two weeks for this accusation to be withdrawn. But you, honored Judge, went back to get your testimony only from the same people who spread the blood libel of the school bombing…

***

See these dispatches for more on this:

* Washington Post latest to report IDF didn’t hit Gaza school (Feb. 9, 2009)
* Major Australian paper latest to attack UN for disseminating “lies” about Gaza (Feb. 5, 2009)
* Investigation by Canada’s leading paper finds: No Palestinians killed in the UN school in Gaza (Feb. 2, 2009)

 

HOW RELIABLE IS THE EVIDENCE OF THOSE PALESTINIAN DOCTORS?

Tom Gross adds, concerning the doctors mentioned in the article above:

Dr. Abd al-Aziz Rantissi graduated from the faculty of medicine at Egypt’s Alexandria University and then obtained a master’s degree in Pediatrics. While in Egypt, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood. He then returned to Gaza, and while working at Gaza’s main medical centre in Khan Yunis (during which time he served on the administrative boards of the Arab Medical Society in Gaza and of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society) he co-founded Hamas.

Using his influence as a leading doctor in Gaza, he instructed people to exit the mosques chanting “Allah Akbar” (God is great) in order to instigate riots. Serving as the right-hand man and operations chief to Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, he masterminded hundreds of suicide bombings and other terror attacks on Israeli men, women, children and babies.

In March 2003, Rantissi told Reuters that “all Jews” should be targeted. After the assassination of Sheikh Yassin on March 22, 2004, Rantissi became head of Hamas in the Gaza Strip. On April 17, 2004, Israeli security forces killed Rantisi after he ordered another wave of suicide bombings “in the name of Allah” against Israeli civilians.

* For more, see these dispatches from the day after Rantissi’s death in 2004:

Dr Abdel al-Rantissi, “the Pediatrician of Death,” in his own words
Rantissi 2: A minute’s silence by British MPs for Sheikh Yassin
Rantissi 3: The Observer newspaper: Rantissi “loved children”

***

There are also many other past dispatches on this list concerning misuse of hospitals and ambulances by Palestinian terrorists. See, for instance, “Examples of the use of ambulances and medical services for terrorism by Palestinian groups in contravention of international law” (Nov. 12, 2002)

***

Dr. George Habash, who graduated from the medical school of the American University of Beirut, was the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) at the time that it initiated a series of airline hijackings which resulted in the deaths of many passengers and led to the Black September War between Jordanian and Palestinian forces. In 1972, working in conjunction with PFLP forces, Japanese Red Army terrorists killed 24 people at Lod International Airport (now Ben Gurion International Airport) in Tel Aviv. The PFLP’s most infamous hijacking occurred in 1976, and resulted in a rescue effort by Israeli forces in Entebbe, Uganda. Habash died last year in Amman of natural causes.

***

Many doctors have engaged in terrorist activities, including for example, those in Glasgow in 2007. Al-Qaeda’s number 2 and (terror) operations chief, Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a qualified surgeon.

 

“RICHARD RICHARD” GOLDSTONE’S MOTIVES IN JOINING THE HUMAN RIGHTS INDUSTRY

In the second article below, Douglas Davis, who is a long-time subscriber to this email list, and who came to Britain as an exile from apartheid South Africa, writes in London’s Spectator magazine:

[Barely had Israeli troops entered Gaza than] the United Nations Human Rights Council, which had been steadfastly silent about the human rights of Israelis suffering rocket attacks, quickly swung into action. It strongly condemned Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which it said, “resulted in massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people and systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure”. Then it set up a commission to confirm its opinion.

Step forward Richard Goldstone, “a Jew who has supported Israel and its people all my life,” to head the commission. The human rights council graciously accepted its findings that Israel committed war crimes and may have committed crimes against humanity. Presto! The job was done.

Goldstone will now be lionized from Pyongyang to Ouagadougou and all points between where the Oppressed of the Earth find succor. Streets will named after him, university chairs will be endowed in his honor and state medals will be struck for this great class-struggler. But to senior legal colleagues in South Africa, he will always be Richard Richard Goldstone.

Richard Richard?

“Oh yes,” says a former senior colleague who was close to Goldstone for many years. “We believed that he saw himself as a future secretary-general of the United Nations. At the time, Boutros Boutros Ghali held the post, so it seemed a logical progression for Goldstone to become Richard Richard”.

It might appear unkind to doubt the purity of Goldstone’s motives in joining the human rights industry, poignantly as Israel’s excoriator-in-chief. But he is, it seems, regarded by colleagues who knew him well as an opportunist.

… While many of his countrymen were fighting against the apartheid regime, Goldstone was loftily administering the regime’s laws from the bench of the Supreme Court… Then, just as apartheid was reaching its tipping point, Goldstone jumped… Richard Richard was on the road to redemption. With Mandela in Power, Goldstone slid seamlessly on to the bench of the new South Africa’s highest court.

… But all that was simply to prepare him for an even bigger prize – head of the UN Human Rights Council’s inquiry into the Gaza conflict… Mary Robinson quickly spotted the problems [of the biased commission and its slanted mandate] when she turned down the job (five other candidates are said to have rejected it before it reached Goldstone). The former Irish president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said she “felt strongly that the Council’s resolution was one-sided and did not permit a balanced approach to determining the situation on the ground.

… Meanwhile, I am left with my own very personal question: Where exactly was Richard Richard, paragon of human rights, when my human rights were being comprehensively trashed in an interrogation room at the Security Police headquarters in Pretoria? I was not in Rwanda, Yugoslavia or even in Gaza. That interrogation room was less a minute’s walk from Judge Goldstone’s Supreme Court.

 

“DON’T COUNT ON GOLDSTONE TO CURB ISRAEL’S RESPONSE TO ATTACKS ON TEL AVIV”

In the final article below, Israeli commentator Alex Fishman writes in Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s best-selling newspaper:

While Sderot sustained rocket attacks for eight years until the military and political conditions “were ripe” for a retaliatory strike in Gaza, Tel Aviv will not sustain such attacks for eight days; not even for eight hours.

In order to put an immediate end to missile attacks on central Israel – regardless of where they originated: Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza – we will see massive retribution that will make Operation Cast Lead appear like a tiny scratch in the Middle East’s violent history.

… [As Hizbullah and Hamas get longer and longer range missiles, most supplied by Iran’s genocidal regime] the quantity of missiles in the enemy’s arsenal at this time is so great that missiles will be landing in central Israel.

… It is doubtful whether all Israel’s strategic sites, both military and civilian, are properly reinforced to ensure that Israel’s critical systems will not be paralyzed. There is also no solution for Israeli civilians in case of direct hits. Secure rooms are meant to protect against shrapnel, not against missiles with huge warheads.

… Israel’s enemies are counting on Goldstone: They will fire missiles at Tel Aviv, and the world will stop Israel from punishing them for deterrence purposes. Yet they’re wrong.

Israel would not be able to afford to wait for its ground forces to successfully operate in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, or any other site in order to curb the fire. Time is a critical element, and a successful ground operation is a matter of days or weeks, which means more casualties and more critical hits sustained by the home front. The hundreds of rockets that will penetrate through the Israeli-American defense systems will require Israel to respond immediately.

And here the formula is cruel and simple: The more effective the rocket terror war will be, the less “proportional” the response would be… The more painful the blow to the enemy’s critical sites, the greater the chance it will be convinced to hold the fire sooner.

 

HUMAN RIGHTS NIGHTMARE

I have posted this on my website before but I think it is worth watching again. Please note the response at the end by the Chairman of the UN Human Rights Council. Should this reprimand by a senior UN staff member go without appropriate reaction on the record by members of the Council?

Speech before UN Human Rights Council 4th Session on March 23, 2007
Delivered by Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch

[All notes and summaries above by Tom Gross]


FULL ARTICLES

ISRAELI DOCTOR: DEAR JUDGE GOLDSTONE, THEY DECEIVED YOU

Dear Judge Goldstone, the Hamas doctors deceived you
By Dr. David Zangen
Ma’ariv
October 27, 2009

(Translated from Hebrew)

Dear Judge Goldstone,

My name is Dr. David Zangen. I am a consultant in Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes at Hadassah University Hospital in Jerusalem. Over 50% of my patient population is Palestinian from Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. I speak Arabic and initiated the first training program for Palestinian physicians in the field of Pediatric Endocrinology. The trained physicians were fully respected and were included as first authors on our studies that we published in the world’s leading professional journals.

But, at the same time, I happened to be the Chief Medical Officer of my brigade during Operation Defensive Shield, in Jenin, 2002. I was responsible for the medical treatment of our soldiers, but also for enabling the hospital in Jenin to provide full medical services to the civilian population, and I was personally involved in numerous medical treatments that Palestinians (including fighters) received from Israeli physicians.

During and after the operation the director of Jenin Hospital was a source for what has been falsely called the “massacre in Jenin in which 5,000 people were slaughtered.” This same person, Dr. Abu Rali, has also claimed that one part of the Jenin hospital was destroyed by Israeli tank missiles: “12 tank rockets were shot at the hospital.”

You should know, honorable Judge, that these statements have been proven and documented as outright lies, not only by Israeli sources, but also by the Human Rights Watch and UN organizations, which counted only 52 dead on the Palestinian side and 23 on the Israeli side. These organizations, and photographs of Jenin Hospital following the operation, showed no evidence of any destruction at the hospital buildings.

This Dr. Abu Rali, a hospital director and physician, lies and incites in the service of the Shahids. It is hard to believe that a director of a hospital can give such an obviously false testimony. I cannot understand it. And you cannot understand it. But, unfortunately, this is what has happened. Even people who would normally be considered reliable sources become advocates of blatant lies. Tragically, moral misbehavior of doctors in the Palestinian Authority is not new. The pediatrician, George Habash, sent his terrorists to kill children in Israeli schools, as did Hamas’ leader and pediatrician, Dr. Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, as well as pediatrician, Dr Mahmud Zaher, who continues to encourage the launching of rockets from Gaza against innocent Israeli schools.

Please Judge Goldstone, you should really be careful when such blatant liars serve as the basis for your report. I am sure that you mean well, but being an eyewitness, both to the events in Jenin and to the subsequent media, and initially false, UN reporting, I do understand what happened to you, how a person of such stature and integrity could become associated with such a faulty report.

Look, Judge Goldstone, at your report on the Al Fakhura incident on January 5-6th 2009 (paragraphs 651-688). You do report how Israel was accused for directly bombing the UNRWA school. It took two weeks for this accusation to be withdrawn. But you, honored Judge, went back to get your testimony only from the same people who spread the blood libel of the school bombing. Moreover, when analyzing the scene you claim that you could not verify the numbers of 24 dead and 40 wounded, but these numbers are not considered exaggerated. Finally, in the ‘Factual Findings’ section, you already determine that 24 people were killed and 40 injured!

Did you, by any chance, try to validate any of these invented and inciting details? Did you look at the Al Jazeera or BBC reports from the same very day of the event? Did you try to validate your ‘Factual Findings’ conclusions by at least getting emergency room charts on the people admitted to their trauma department on this very day? Did you go over the ID’s of the “dead” and the place or cemetery where they were supposedly buried?

No, you didn’t!

As a judge I am sure that you did not mean to hurt Israel. I try to believe that you came to Gaza without prejudice. But a judge is expected to look, at least, for some evidence and verification (media, emergency room registration, burial places, etc.) of the testimonies and not accept impossible “facts”. You have allowed yourself to be misled by fabrications made either by terrorists or doctors such as Dr. Abu Rali from Jenin.

I, and my colleagues in Israel, are proud of the medical service that is given equally to every human being regardless of origin; we are also proud to belong to a nation that is identified as having higher moral standards than others.

I call on you, Judge Goldstone. Take this Al Fakhura incident, look at the media coverage from the very same day. See the events in their context. Try to live one day with the responsibility for the existence of this small nation of six million Jews threatened constantly by 300 million Muslims. I call on you to try and not draw conclusions from such lies and misleading witnesses, even if they come from so-called professionals. In the modern world, propaganda and lies are definitely a part of the war. And as a judge, you should not serve as a tool for augmenting hatred and conflicts.

We desire peace. We love peace. And we try our utmost to fight for our right to exist while maintaining the highest possible moral standards, even at the cost of our lives.

 

GOLDSTONE WILL NOW BE LIONIZED FROM PYONGYANG TO OUAGADOUGOU

Who is Goldstone to judge?
By Douglas Davis
The Spectator
October 24, 2009

Why has Richard Goldstone, a self-professed Zionist, accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza? Douglas Davis suspects opportunism.

WHEN ISRAELI TANKS and troops rolled into Gaza, there was no doubt about the outcome of the conflict. Nor was there any doubt about who would be held responsible for using disproportionate force and deliberately harming civilians. Never mind that Israel was responding to years of rocket bombardments from Gaza on its civilian population; that it had long-since pulled all its troops and settlers out of Gaza; that the ruling Hamas movement refused to recognise the Jewish state and was pledged to its destruction; that Hamas was using its own population as human shields.

The United Nations Human Rights Council, which had been steadfastly silent about the human rights of Israelis suffering rocket attacks, quickly swung into action. It strongly condemned Israel’s Operation Cast Lead, which it said, “resulted in massive violations of human rights of the Palestinian people and systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure”. Then it set up a commission to confirm its opinion.

Step forward Richard Goldstone, “a Jew who has supported Israel and its people all my life”, to head the commission. Last week, the human rights council graciously accepted its findings that Israel committed war crimes and may have committed crimes against humanity. Presto! The job was done.

Richard Goldstone will now be lionised from Pyongyang to Ouagadougou and all points between where the Oppressed of the Earth find succour. Streets will named after him, university chairs will be endowed in his honour and state medals will be struck for this great class-struggler. But to senior legal colleagues in South Africa, he will always be Richard Richard Goldstone.

Richard Richard?

“Oh yes,” says a former senior colleague who was close to Goldstone for many years. “We believed that he saw himself as a future secretary-general of the United Nations. At the time, Boutros Boutros Ghali held the post, so it seemed a logical progression for Goldstone to become Richard Richard”.

It might appear unkind to doubt the purity of Goldstone’s motives in joining the human rights industry, poignantly as Israel’s excoriator-in-chief. But he is, it seems, regarded by colleagues who knew him well as an opportunist. And the record suggests they might be right. There is nothing in Goldstone’s biography to suggest that he was destined to become a Hero of the People, let alone a human rights champion. During his career, he has executed some canny intellectual and ideological manoeuvres, leveraging past accomplishments to propel himself further up the pole of seniority and celebrity.

While many of his countrymen were fighting against the apartheid regime, Goldstone was loftily administering the regime’s laws from the bench of the Supreme Court. The impression that he was at least “friendly” towards the Nats gained weight when he was elevated to the appellate division.

“I’m not suggesting he was ever a paid-up member of the Nationalist Party”, says his former colleague, “but he was very friendly towards the regime. There many more capable jurists who were never promoted – even if they had been prepared to accept such a position. The government just didn’t promote people to the bench if they were likely to prove an ideological embarrassment – particularly if they were, like Goldstone, Jews”.

Then, just as apartheid was reaching its tipping point, Goldstone jumped. He became chairman of the South African Standing Commission of Inquiry Regarding Public Violence and Intimidation, a position he used to publicise the evils of the apartheid regime and promote a new ANC-friendly persona (he pointedly refused to investigate “public violence and intimidation” by the ANC.

Richard Richard was on the road to redemption. With Mandela in Power, Goldstone slid seamlessly on to the bench of the new South Africa’s highest court. Yet this was still not the summit of his ambitions. He was ready to burst on to the international stage, and in August 1994, he was appointed chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for both the Former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda. He had become a global brand.

But all that was simply to prepare him for an even bigger prize – head of the UN Human Rights Council’s inquiry into the Gaza conflict. And that is where it has all gone wrong. Goldstone was not invited to investigate the causes and consequences of the conflict, but rather, in the language of the mandate, “to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel…”

There were two fatal flaws in this mandate: firstly, there was a blatant presumption of guilt by Israel; secondly, there was no mention of the role of Hamas in the conflict – the fact that the Israeli operation had been prompted by years of rockets attacks from Gaza (specifically after Israel ceased to be an occupying power).

Mary Robinson quickly spotted the problems when she turned down the job (five other candidates are said to have rejected it before it reached Goldstone). The former Irish president and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said she “felt strongly that the Council’s resolution was one-sided and did not permit a balanced approach to determining the situation on the ground.

The thin veneer of legal respectability was blown apart by the evidence of Britain’s Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan.

In a statement to the UN Human Rights Council, he declared that, “based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians. Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets”.

The Goldstone Commission could have seized the opportunity to examine the phenomenon of asymmetrical warfare and make a serious contribution to an issue that will provide a huge challenge for the West in the coming decades. Instead, it lapsed into clapped-out slogans.

Perhaps most painful for Goldstone is not the ridicule he has attracted for accepting the mission, but the painful personal dimension of his actions. Just as he cut himself adrift from the apartheid regime when he considered it prudent, he seems to have cut himself off from his Jewish and Zionist roots in accepting the Gaza commission.

Warren Goldstein, the chief rabbi of South Africa who, incidentally, has a PhD in human rights law, described the mission as a “sham” which demonstrated a “complete lack of integrity and fairness… It looks like law,” he declared, “but it is not. It is just politics”.

Closer to home, a longstanding family friend of Goldstone wrote to him in blunt language: the report, she said, “did not arise from ignorance or naivety. I am trying so hard to resist the conclusion that your role and report might represent a self-serving desire to ingratiate yourself for a more senior position in the… United Nations. If true – and one hopes that this is not the case – at what price”?

That is a deeply troubling question. As Goldstone’s former colleague told me last weekend: “Richard has always exercised an exquisite sense of judgement – he has always known precisely what was in his own self-interest”.

Meanwhile, I am left with my own very personal question: Where exactly was Richard Richard, paragon of human rights, when my human rights were being comprehensively trashed in an interrogation room at the Security Police headquarters in Pretoria? I was not in Rwanda, Yugoslavia or even in Gaza. That interrogation room was less a minute’s walk from Judge Goldstone’s Supreme Court.

 

“ISRAEL’S RESPONSE WILL MAKE OPERATION CAST LEAD SEEM LIKE A TINY SCRATCH IN THE MIDDLE EAST’S VIOLENT HISTORY”

Israel’s enemies are wrong
Don’t count on Goldstone to curb Israel’s response to attacks on Tel Aviv
By Alex Fishman
Yediot Ahronot
October 26, 2009

(Translated from Hebrew)

While Sderot sustained rocket attacks for eight years until the military and political conditions “were ripe” for a retaliatory strike in Gaza, Tel Aviv will not sustain such attacks for eight days; not even for eight hours.

In order to put an immediate end to missile attacks on central Israel – regardless of where they originated: Syria, Lebanon, or Gaza – we will see massive retribution that will make Operation Cast Lead appear like a tiny scratch in the Middle East’s violent history.

In order to find a defensive solution for Gaza-region residents, Israeli officials wracked their brains for about six years until “the need arouse” and the budget was found for the Iron Dome project, which may prove itself in the next decade. Maybe. Meanwhile, central Israel is already protected by the best anti-missile systems in the world.

The Juniper Cobra drill that recently got underway expresses not only America’s diplomatic and military commitment to defend Israel from long-range missiles; it also constitutes an impressive display of cutting edge technologies only possessed by a few states.

This includes the American THAAD missiles, which became operation only two years ago and are meant to intercept ballistic missiles at a 200-kilometer range, beyond the atmosphere, as well as exotic long-range radar systems and satellite-based sensors.

Yet despite all of the above, the quantity of missiles in the enemy’s arsenal at this time is so great that missiles will be landing in central Israel; this will certainly be the case if we see a surprise attack like we experienced in 1973. There will be attempts to hit strategic sites and crowded population centers. The Syrian missiles and the advanced rockets held by Hezbollah are much more accurate than Hamas’ rockets, not to mention Iran’s capabilities.

No time to waste

It is doubtful whether all our strategic sites, both military and civilian, are properly reinforced to ensure that our critical systems will not be paralyzed. There is also no solution for civilians in case of direct hits. Secure rooms are meant to protect against shrapnel, not against missiles with huge warheads. Just like what happened around Gaza, residents in central Israel will feel as though they’re taking part in a bingo contest, of an immensely more murderous scope.

It is no coincidence that Hamas is making every effort to produce or smuggle rockets with a 70-kilometer range. Bringing such missiles into the Gaza Strip is also one of Iran’s greatest challenges in the region.

Israel’s enemies are counting on Goldstone: They will fire missiles at Tel Aviv, and the world will stop Israel from punishing them for deterrence purposes. Yet they’re wrong.

Israel would not be able to afford to wait for its ground forces to successfully operate in Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, or any other site in order to curb the fire. Time is a critical element, and a successful ground operation is a matter of days or weeks, which means more casualties and more critical hits sustained by the home front. The hundreds of rockets that will penetrate through the Israeli-American defense systems will require Israel to respond immediately.

And here the formula is cruel and simple: The more effective the rocket terror war will be, the less “proportional” the response would be.

Under such circumstances, we will see a massive retaliatory blow, from the air and from the ground, targeting various infrastructures and sites and being painful enough to prompt the enemy to hold its fire. If the world expects Israel to only hit military targets and chase every rocket or launching site, it expects Israel to commit suicide.

The more painful the blow to the enemy’s critical sites, the greater the chance it will be convinced to hold the fire sooner.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.