Justice Richard Goldstone [pictured], commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council, want[s] Israel to investigate all the war crimes they attribute to its military operation in Gaza last winter. Otherwise, Goldstone threatens, a global court that tries such cases should judge Israel for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Goldstone acknowledges that the Israeli military has been looking at a number of allegations of war crimes by its personnel in Gaza. But he belittles these proceedings as grossly inadequate because the Israeli armed forces are not incriminating themselves in accordance with his standards.
The problem is that Goldstone is judging Israel on the basis of totally different rules than those Israel applies to its warfare against terrorist enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas. Customary international humanitarian law was written for wars between the armies of sovereign states. These days, in both Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is confronting terrorist mini-states, each of whose territory is a sovereign black hole left behind by a failed governing authority. The Goldstone commission applies laws of war that ignore the necessities of fighting a terrorist enemy that attacks civilians from bases in non-sovereign territory, hides behind its own civilian population, then displays its own civilian casualties in order to appeal for international support.
Goldstone’s rules of war forbid attacking mosques, schools and hospitals; Israel encountered mosques used as arms depots, schools as forward command posts and the main Gaza hospital as Hamas’s central command post.
The fact that the Israeli military posted a lawyer in the command headquarters of every combat unit in Gaza to ensure that civilian casualties were kept to an absolute minimum would have made no impression on Goldstone whatsoever. Israeli military lawyers and commanders were enforcing a different set of rules — the ones used by the American military at Fallujah in Iraq, by NATO in Kosovo and by the Sri Lankans in Jaffna; in Israel’s case, the ones imposed on us by Hamas.
The Lebanon front has been more or less silent since the summer 2006 war against Hezbollah, just as the Gaza front was relatively muted by Israel’s use of the military tactics Goldstone condemns. [A] quiet front means fewer casualties on both sides.
Goldstone Report Ignored Israeli Evidence -Dr. Elihu Richter
I personally submitted a nine-page, annotated and referenced brief to the Goldstone Commission last July showing that the high male-female ratio of fatalities among Palestinians in Gaza argues for the combatant status of many whom human rights organizations classified as non-combatants.
However, the Commission was not driven by the evidence, but by its preset agenda.
A Farcical Attempt to Paint Israel Black -Ron Prosor
The Goldstone report's lack of credibility has not gone unnoticed in all quarters. Canada, Japan and the EU all refused to support Justice Richard Goldstone's mission from the start. Even Switzerland, which has often lavished red-carpet treatment on tyrants, acknowledged that the anti-Israel bigotry of Goldstone's team made it unsupportable. Mary Robinson, the former Irish President and a fierce critic of Israel, described Goldstone's mandate as "guided not by human rights but by politics."
It is no surprise, therefore, that the report wilfully ignores the context of Israel's Gaza operation. Israeli civilians were battered for eight years by thousands of missiles from Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, hoping the missiles would stop. Instead, the attacks increased, escalating further when Hamas seized power in a brutal coup in 2007. With a million Israelis under fire, and Hamas' range increasing, Israel did what any democratic state would do. It defended its citizens.