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Wat heeft Richard Goldstone gezegd?

Blogger Likoed kopt vandaag “Géén Israëlische oorlogsmisdaden in GAZA.” Tijd voor een quick fact check.

Likoed schrijft het volgende: “Hij [Goldstone] pleit Israel [sic] nu vrij” en citeert zijn opiniestuk uit Washington Post als volgt: “Burgers zijn geen opzettelijk doelwit als gevolg van het Israelische [sic] beleid geweest. Wel zijn er in enkele gevallen door individuele soldaten fouten gemaakt.”

Maar als we kijken wat Goldstone in werkelijkheid heeft geschreven, dan moeten we ons afvragen welk woordenboek Likoed gebruikt:

“The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. 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.”

Er is weliswaar waar dat het woord “indicate” ook andere synoniemen heeft zoals “show, point out, mark, signify, imply, exhibit, reveal.” Maar het beste synoniem van “indicate” is in deze context het woord “suggest.” Want Goldstone heeft geen bewijzen van onomstotelijke feiten tot zijn beschikking. Dus Goldstone zegt slechts dat de onderzoeken van het Israëlische leger ‘suggereren’ dat er geen Israëlisch regeringsbeleid was om burgers als doelwit te stellen.

Wat we zien is ten eerste dat Likoed de zinnen heeft omgedraaid en gescheiden. Ten tweede dat Likoed de woorden in de mond van Goldstone plaatst. Goldstone zou Israël vrijgepleit hebben, maar niets is minder waar. Goldstone zegt slechts dat volgens het Israëlische onderzoek lijkt het alsof de regering geen beleid had om burgers opzettelijk aan te vallen.

Goldstone schrijft verder: “While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum.” Met andere woorden Goldstone spreekt zijn bezorgdheid uit dat het onderzoek slechts door het Israëlische leger is uitgevoerd, niet door een neutrale en doorzichtige instantie. Wie laat een slager zijn eigen vlees keuren?

Daarna, de oorspronkelijke kritiek op Israël was niet dat er een doelbewust beleid zou zijn om burgers te doden, maar dat Israël disproportioneel geweld gebruikte. En men twijfelde of de oorlog op zich legaal was. Disproportioneel geweld is nog steeds een oorlogsmisdaad, zelfs als de burgers niet met opzet zijn gedood. Als de politie in Amsterdam een atoombom op Amsterdam gooit om Mohammed B te vangen, dan is dat disproportioneel en illegaal geweld. Goldstone heeft nergens gezegd dat het door Israël gebruikt geweld proportioneel zou zijn.

Ook de gebruikte wapens, zoals witte fosfor, clusterbommen en uranium als materiaal, kan leiden tot de conclusie dat er oorlogsmisdaden zijn gepleegd. Hierover heeft Goldstone Israël niet vrij gepleit.

Daarna moeten we onderscheid maken tussen regels voor het voeren van een oorlog (jus in bello) en regels voor het starten van een oorlog (jus ad bellum). De bovengenoemde discussie ging over de regels van jus in bello, het aanvallen van burgers, controversiële wapens gebruiken en disproportioneel geweld. Zelfs als Israël de oorlog voor 100% volgens deze regels zou hebben gevoerd, dus zonder doelbewust burgers aan te vallen, ook als Israël proportioneel geweld zou hebben toegepast, ook als Israël slechts oncontroversiële wapens zou hebben gebruikt, staat het nog steeds niet vast dat het starten van de oorlog legaal was.

Dat betekent dat volgens jus ad bellum deze oorlog nog steeds een oorlogsmisdaad kan zijn, want het opstarten van een oorlog is bij voorbaat illegaal en is ook een oorlogsmisdaad. De bewijslast ligt bij diegene die de oorlog start.

We kunnen deze oorlog niet anders dan in de context van de Israëlische bezetting zien, bezetting die het recht van de Palestijnen op externe zelfbeschikking schendt. Extra geweld gebruiken om een reeds bestaande schending van rechtsregels in stand te houden, kan gezien worden als een illegale oorlog. Met andere woorden als ik jouw huis binnendring en je ook nog een klap verkoop, met als gevolg dat jij in een rolstoel belandt, dan is het nog de vraag of ik onschuldig ben voor het verkopen van de klap, ook als jij mij tijdens mijn inbraak aanvalt.

VN rapporteur Richard Falk zegt:

“The Israeli military campaign was also justified by Israeli leaders as an ‘inevitable’ and ‘unavoidable’ response to the persistence of the rocket attacks. Here again it is important to examine the factual setting of Israel’s justifications, which go to the reasonableness of such action and its defensive character. Most accounts of the temporary ceasefire indicate that it was a major Israeli use of lethal force on November 4, 2008 that brought the ceasefire to a de facto end, leading directly to increased frequency of rocket fire from Gaza. It is also relevant that Hamas repeatedly offered to extend the ceasefire, even up to ten years, provided that Israel would lift the blockade. These diplomatic possibilities were, as far as can be assessed, not explored by Israel, although admittedly complicated by the contested legal status of Hamas as the de facto representative of the Gazan population. This has legal relevance, as a cardinal principle of the UN Charter is to make recourse to force a matter of last resort, making it obligatory for Israel to rely in good faith on nonviolent means to end rocket attacks.”

Met andere woorden het staat nog steeds niet vast dat de oorlog onvermijdelijk was. En als het vermijdelijk was, als er andere middelen zouden bestaan om hetzelfde te bereiken, dan is de oorlog illegaal, dus een oorlogsmisdaad op zich.

In conclusie: De titel van Likoed’s blog, dat Israël geen oorlogsmisdaden in GAZA heeft gepleegd, wordt niet onderbouwd door de door de Likoed aangedragen bewijzen.
Geredigeerd door Pascale Esveld

Published inInternationaal RechtOpinie

18 Comments

  1. Mihai Mihai

    Presentation of Report by Committee of Independent Experts

    MARY MCGOWAN DAVIS, Chairperson of the Committee of Independent Experts pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 13/9, said that the Committee of Independent Experts was mandated to monitor and assess any domestic, legal or other proceedings undertaken by both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian side. The Committee had carried out its work under considerable challenges and constraints, in particular as the Committee had not travelled to the West Bank or Gaza and had been unable to meet with a number of people who could have supplied first-hand and updated information as to the status and impact of investigations and legal proceedings undertaken by the respective parties into the violations alleged in the report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict. Ms. McGowan Davis said that the Government of Israel refused to cooperate with any aspect of what it called the “Goldstone process” and expressed gratitude to the Palestinian Authority for the extensive cooperation provided throughout the term.

    Israel had dedicated significant resources to investigating over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza, but given the scale of this undertaking, much remained to be accomplished. There was no indication that Israel had opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead as called for by the Fact-Finding Mission report. The concerns expressed in the previous report of the Committee of Independent Experts relating to transparency and the participation of victims and witnesses in investigations continued to be relevant. Non-governmental organizations, victims and their legal representatives continued having difficulty in accessing information about progress in investigations and uniformly reported that the majority of their requests for information went unanswered. The Committee expressed strong reservations regarding the promptness of some investigations of individual incidents and more than one-third of the 36 incidents that had featured in the Fact-Finding Mission report were still unresolved or unclear. The duration of the ongoing investigations — over two years since the end of the Gaza operation — could seriously impair the effectiveness and the prospect of achieving accountability and justice.

    The Committee noted the efforts of the Palestinian Authority and said that the Council of Ministers had established a Ministerial Committee with a mandate to issue recommendations about implementation of the report of the Palestinian Independent Investigation Commission. The report of the Ministerial Committee detailed strategies for significant institutional changes over the next nine months, including the recommendation that the General Prosecutor investigated incidents in which officials had allegedly refused to implement the court’s decisions. A decision had also been made to transfer cases from military to civilian courts. Those represented important developments, but the Committee remained concerned that criminal accountability mechanisms had not yet been duly activated in relation to many allegations of various violations by the Palestinian Authority reported by the Fact-Finding Mission. With regard to the de facto authorities in Gaza, the Committee acknowledged that they had made efforts to provide specific information concerning criminal investigations into alleged human rights violations committed by their security forces. However, there had been no investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel. The de facto authorities should make serious efforts to conduct criminal investigations into all the allegations of grave violations of international law implicated by those attacks.
    http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/0/dd0e9e449454c4d18525785a0063e110?OpenDocument

  2. Jan Jan

    Vriendelijk bemerkend:

    Israel kent ‘dienstplicht’ voor alle Israelisch burgers (Israeli citizens). Niet alle burgers in Israel zijn Joden. Zo zijn er ook Arabieren, Druzen enz. die in het Israel Defense Forces (IDF) dienen, en die coöpereren in de geweldadige akties waar het ‘United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict – Richard Goldstone Head’ over gaat.

    Nergens in het Goldstone-rapport wordt er gerept over een Joods leger.. Het is deze context wel heel erg ongepast zeer misleidend om zich anti-semitisch en daarenboven zelfs anti-joods uit te laten in bewoordingen zoals:’backstabbing Jews’.

    Ter referentie:

    http://tinyurl.com/yr2zau
    http://tinyurl.com/6667yse

  3. Nederlandstalige samenvatting van het artikel van Goldstone (afkomstig van
    http://eliezeryair.punt.nl/?id=544217&r=1 ):


    • De VN heeft in de geschiedenis laten zien vaak vooroordelen te hebben gehad tegen Israel.

    • Met de kennis van nu zouden de conclusies van het Goldstone-rapport anders zijn geweest.

    • Israel heeft serieuze pogingen gedaan om in het Goldstone-rapport genoemde incidenten te onderzoeken.

    • De conclusies van de onderzoeken door Israel zijn door de VN aangenomen.

    • Hamas heeft geen enkele inspanning verricht om onderzoek te doen naar de strijdmethoden van Hamas-strijders en vermeende schendingen van internationaal recht

    • Hamas heeft geen enkele inspanning verricht om onderzoek te doen naar door de organisatie gepleegde oorlogsmisdaden of misdaden tegen de menselijkheid.

    • Hamas heeft als uitgangspunt de vernietiging van de staat Israel.

    • Hamas gaat tot op de dag van vandaag door met raket- en mortieraanvallen op civiele doelen in Zuid-Israel.

    • VN-Raad voor de mensenrechten moet deze afschuwelijke daden in de scherpste bewoordingen veroordelen.

    Goldstone voegt nog een opmerking toe: “De VN-Raad voor de mensenrechten moet de onvergeeflijke en bloedige recente slachting van een jong Israëlische echtpaar en drie van hun kleine kinderen in hun bedden scherp veroordelen.”

    Goldstone is dus 170 graden gedraaid. Niet 180 graden nee, hij wou nog iets zelfrespect behouden.

    Maar Israel wordt dus overduidelijk vrij gepleit.

  4. Mihai Mihai

    @Likoed

    Ook in deze samenvatting staat niet wat jij beweert in je blog. En als je mijn reactie van 13:37 leest, dan zie je dat het nieuwe rapport zelfs minder gunstig is voor Israel dan wat Goldstone in zijn opiniestuk beweert.

  5. Jan Jan

    @Mihai,

    Enige informatie:

    “The Devastating Consequences of Israeli Weapons Testing …. Col Raymond Lane, who is chief instructor of ordnance with the Irish armed forces, gave testimony to the Goldstone Commission on weapons used in the Gaza conflict. He told the Commission that he had no expertise of depleted uranium and so had not investigated it. He gave no reason for his failure to bring in specialist expertise to investigate the subject. …”*

    Verarmed uranium (depleted uranium), het verbaze mij geenzins,is juridisch, aardrijkskundig ongelettered. Culturele codes, gewoonten, slimmigheden, sluwigheden, cartografische conventies, volkerenkundige en historische verzinselen, zijn verarmd uranium (du) een raadsel. Het is niet specifiek anti-joods of anti-palestijn. Noch discrimineert het tussen ‘burger’ of ‘militair’, noch tussen ‘jong of oud’, noch tussen ‘vrouw, man’, noch tussen ‘rabijn, dominee, priester, iman’ het gaat met alle windrichting mee en het doet. Zich op allerlei wijzen** uitend.

    Een hek of muur kan noch hoog noch lang genoeg gebouw worden.Een zandstorm***, onvoorzien door de meteorologen, ontstaat in een vloek en een zucht, is er voor uren en fungeert als een der transportmiddelen voor verarmd uranium (du). Het slaat neer op voedsel, kosjer, halal of vegetarisch, uit de vuilnisbak of uit een duur restaurant, een ijsje, een verjaardagstaart, een glaswater of glas limonade als traktatie. Het is DU om het even.

    Het principe, oog om oog resulteert er uitsluitend in dat de gehele wereld blind wordt.

    * http://tinyurl.com/3v26jkh
    ** http://tinyurl.com/y89gwah
    *** http://tinyurl.com/3bsdadk

  6. Piet Pieterz Piet Pieterz

    Het is toch volstrekt zinloos in te gaan op de beweringen van de schurkenstaat en z’n apologeten ?
    Die hangen b.v. nog steeds het verhaaltje van land zonder mensen voor mensen zonder land op.
    Dank zij moderne technologie zag iedereen de fosfor granaten ploffen.
    Thomas L Friedman waarschuwde al vele jaren geleden dat de technische ontwikkelingen niet in het voordeel van de zionisten waren.
    Wat de ‘bekering’ van Goldstone betreft, Thomas L Friedman zag niets meer in Israel nadat hij had ontdekt welk bloedbad onder regie van Sharon was aangericht in de Palestijnse kampen in Beirut.
    Toch is hij nu weer zionistisch apologist.
    De interessante vraag is dus hoe de schurkenstaat er in slaagt dit soort mensen 180 graden te laten draaien.
    De rest is flauwekul.

  7. Mihai Mihai

    Reconsidering Goldstone’s reconsideration

    by Yaniv Reich on April 2, 2011

    Israel is “vindicated”, claims FM Lieberman about Richard Goldstone’s latest op-ed in the Washington Post, adding that “we knew the truth and we had no doubt it would eventually come out.” Netanyahu has gone so far as to demand the Goldstone report be retracted from the UN. Among all the celebrations and self-congratulatory pats on the back, it is worth pausing for a moment to ask: what exactly does Goldstone’s latest essay vindicate?

    The answer seems much less clear than Israel’s unconditional supporters want to argue. The most charitable portions of his piece (to Israel) suggest that “if I [Goldstone] had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” This statement is so patently obvious as to be meaningless, particularly given Israel’s steadfast non-cooperation at the time of the investigation, but let’s assume Goldstone means this in a substantive way. He did publish this piece under a headline of “reconsidering the Goldstone report” after all (in fairness, he likely didn’t write the title himself, but his piece certainly opens this door).

    What else is there in this op-ed that suggests a change from the original Goldstone report? The op-ed focuses on a very select group of three themes. The first point relates to the ongoing investigations into allegations of war crimes. Goldstone refers to the UN committee of independent experts’ report to support this argument, and he quotes that report to the effect that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.” The second key claim in Goldstone’s op-ed is confusing, but suggests that the ongoing investigations have proven that Israel did not attack civilians as a matter of intentional policy. How these conclusions have been reached before the investigations, which the Goldstone report called for as its primary recommendation, have been concluded is unclear. The third theme is that Hamas has not done any of the good things Israel has done: Hamas did deliberately target civilians, Hamas didn’t investigate anything, Hamas continues to be guilty of war crimes by firing rockets into civilian areas, and Goldstone admits he was maybe “unrealistic” and “mistaken” to believe Hamas would investigate itself.

    I want to first highlight several general observations about what this op-ed does and doesn’t say. Then I will address these three themes in detail.
    What the Goldstone Op-Ed Doesn’t Say
    Limited to one of seven categories of possible war crimes

    The Goldstone commission’s findings on deliberate attacks on civilians is one of at least seven broad findings (which comprise hundreds of specific incidents) that raise issues about Israel’s conduct. These other key findings include: (1) Israel’s illegal siege on Gaza, which constitutes a form of collective punishment and so violates the Fourth Geneva Conventions; (2) The political institutions and buildings of Gaza cannot be lawfully considered part of the “Hamas terrorist infrastructure” and so Israel’s attacks on them are unlawful; (3) Israel taking insufficient measures to protect the Palestinian civilian population; (4) “indiscriminate” attacks (as distinct from “deliberate” attacks) killed many civilians without any credible military rationale for those actions; (5) Israeli use of weapons, such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, which, although not banned under current international law, were used in ways that do violate the laws of war; and (6) Israel’s deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure, including industrial plants, food production facilities, sewage treatment plants, and water installations; this destruction has no military justification (for example, Israel’s “wanton destruction” of Mr. Sameh Sawafeary’s chicken coops, killing all 31,000 chickens inside despite there being no military activity in the area) and could constitute a crime against humanity.

    Goldstone’s op-ed pointedly excludes discussion of all of these very serious charges of possible war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, so it’s odd that FM Lieberman and his hasbara “excreta” (his word, not mine) think Israel is somehow absolved of all responsibility. One cannot avoid the impression that Israel’s unconditional supporters still haven’t actually read the report.
    Overlooks key impacts of the report

    One of the strangest omissions in the op-ed was the recognition that, assuming Israel is conducting investigations in good faith (again, more on that terrible assumption below), it was the Goldstone report that caused Israel to conduct these investigations. The best evidence this is the case was Israel’s absolute refusal to investigate anything except the credit card theft case, until, that is, it got worried that Israeli leaders might end up in the International Criminal Court. More evidence to support this argument can be found in Israel’s response to a conflict without a Goldstone kick in the rear: the 2006 Lebanon war. In that case, Israel constituted the whitewashing Winograd Commission, which didn’t even pretend to investigate “the government policies and military strategies that failed to discriminate between the Lebanese civilian population and Hizbullah combatants and between civilian property and infrastructure and military targets”, as Amnesty International and other human rights organizations observed. Thus, without the Goldstone report, there is absolutely no reason to believe Israel would be conducting the investigations for which Goldstone is largely praising Israel now.

    Another important impact, which was a direct result of the report’s recommendations, was the policy changes, such as “new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas.” I have argued elsewhere that these policy changes acknowledge implicitly that Israel had not been minimizing civilian casualties, as it so vociferously claims, or else there wouldn’t be any possible policy changes that could further minimize civilian harm. Either civilian casualties were being minimized before, in which case the policy changes are meaningless, or are minimized now (hypothetically, of course), in which case Israel wasn’t doing its utmost to protect civilians from harm before. It certainly can’t be both. Either way, these policy changes are directly related to the report, a point Goldstone’s op-ed also makes.
    Validity of Specific Claims Made in Goldstone’s Op-Ed
    The credibility of Israel’s investigations

    Goldstone’s op-ed gives the strong impression that, despite the length of Israel’s military investigations being “frustrating”, Israel has “appropriate processes” in place. It is difficult to understand where this belief comes from, because it certainly does not appear in this form in McGowan Davis report he cites (McGowan Davis chairs the UN committee of independent experts monitoring implementation of the Goldstone report recommendations). That report paints a far less appealing picture of Israeli’s military investigations, noting, for example, that:

    “That Israel’s military justice system provides for mechanisms to ensure its independence”, but “the Committee further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure the MAG’s [Military Advocate General’s] independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw the operation in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations.”
    “The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni.. . . As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial.” This case is of course cited directly by Goldstone, yet his arguments are incompatible with the actual McGowan Davis report.
    “The Committee has discovered no information relating to four incidents referred to in the FFM [Goldstone] report: incident AD/02, incident AD/06, the attack on the Al-Quds hospital, and the attack on the Al-Wafa hospital. Nor has the Committee uncovered updated information concerning the status of the criminal investigations into the death of Mohammed Hajji and the shooting of Shahd Hajji and Ola Masood Arafat, and the shooting of Ibrahim Juha. Accordingly, the Committee remains unable to determine whether any investigation has been carried out in relation to those incidents.”
    “It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” “
    “The Committee expressed strong reservations as to whether Israel’s investigations into allegations of misconduct were sufficiently prompt. In particular, the Committee expressed concern about the fact that unnecessary delays in carrying out such investigations may have resulted in evidence being lost or compromised, or have led to the type of conflicting testimony that characterizes the investigations into the killings of Majda and Raayya Hajaj, and the inconclusive findings reported with respect to the tragic deaths of Souad and Amal Abd Rabbo and the grave wounding of Samar Abd Rabbo and their grandmother Souad.”
    “The promptness of an investigation is closely linked to the notion of effectiveness. An effective investigation is one in which all the relevant evidence is identified and collected, is analyzed, and leads to conclusions establishing the cause of the alleged violation and identifying those responsible. In that respect, the Committee is concerned about the fact that the duration of the ongoing investigations into the allegations contained in the FFM report – over two years since the end of the Gaza operation – may seriously impair their effectiveness and, therefore, the prospects of achieving accountability and justice.”

    These conclusions of the McGowan Davis report give a very different impression of mechanisms for accountability in Israel’s military justice system than one would understand from a casual reading of Goldstone’s latest op-ed. For additional, excellent analysis of these points, Adam Horowitz’s piece at Mondoweiss is a must-read.
    Was it a deliberate policy of targeting Palestinian civilians?

    If this op-ed “vindicates” anything, it seems to be about Israel deliberately targeting civilians as a matter of policy. The Goldstone report investigated 11 specific cases, which were concerning because civilians were killed “under circumstances in which the Israeli forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status.” After reviewing the details of these cases, which included not only the attack on the Samouni family (discussed in the op-ed) but also attacks on a mosque at prayer time and the shootings of civilians waving white flags, the report concludes:

    “From the facts ascertained in the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of willful killings and willfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility.” (Goldstone report, pp. 16)

    This finding, of course, is precisely why the report recommends that Israel launch credible investigations into possible wrongdoing, which Goldstone claims Israel is now doing (more on this later). In that sense, Israel’s investigations confirm many of the key findings of the Goldstone report, a point I’ve raised previously.

    The conclusion above, which is easily the strongest charge in the entire Goldstone report, has very little to do with Goldstone’s latest statement that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” The Goldstone commission and other human rights investigations have never said the IDF maintains a policy of deliberately targeting civilians. This is a red-herring; nobody seriously believes there is a high-level policy to murder civilians. With that said, there are nearly always instances in war in which certain operational orders, often with much stress, often combined with racism or other forms of dehumanization, result in civilians being deliberately murdered; there is evidence of several such instances in the Goldstone report. There is also a larger, systemic issue. Insufficient concern for civilian life combines with operational orders to result in the systematic murder of civilians. To argue these attacks are not deliberate does not mean they are not easily foreseen, or that those ordering the attacks are not directly responsible for the murder of civilians. The actual issue at hand is not whether there was a high-level policy to kill civilians as civilians, but rather that “these incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population” (Goldstone report, pp. 16). This low threshold was an intentional policy, as has been confirmed by dozens of soldiers’ and officers’ statements. For example, many people have commented before about how the IDF “rewrote the rules of war for Gaza”, in particular by getting rid of “the longstanding principle of military conduct known as ‘means and intentions’—whereby a targeted suspect must have a weapon and show signs of intending to use it before being fired upon—as being applicable before calling in fire from drones and helicopters in Gaza last winter.” The intentional, deliberate policy was one of “literally zero risk to the soldiers”, an order that is inescapably related to the high civilian casualties among the Palestinians. For these reasons the main argument in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, which FM Lieberman erroneously believes “vindicates” Israel, is entirely besides the point.
    Condemning Hamas

    Hamas certainly, and unlawfully, does deliberately target civilians. This is not only grotesque but illegal, and Hamas military leaders should be referred to the International Criminal Court for this since Hamas’ political leadership has refused to investigate the matter themselves and hold those responsible for war crimes to account. But, of course, this was already well known by anybody who read the Goldstone report, which wrote:

    “The Mission has further determined that these [8000 rocket] attacks [since 2001] constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.”

    One could have also reached the same level of awareness by reading any of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or other human rights organizations‘ press releases and reports. In this sense, there is absolutely nothing new about Hamas in Goldstone’s latest op-ed, yet some Israelis and Jewish groups seem surprised (see, e.g., AIPAC’s one of many tweets on the matter).
    A Sad, Integrity-Damaging Turn

    The first time I saw Judge Goldstone speak in person he was striking in his equanimity and unshakeable commitment to international law. Even in the face of hate-filled attacks by Jews in the audience, who compared his report to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, he handled himself with a level of firm principle that I imagined to be unmovable. The second time I saw him speak in public a year later, he seemed tired and worn down by the relentless attacks against him by those who chose to attack the messenger instead of deal with the message. It was nothing concrete that he said, but there was a withered tone in his voice and a sort of quiet resignation that his best intentions had been so vehemently manipulated—and misunderstood.

    Goldstone’s latest op-ed is something else altogether. It does not challenge a single concrete finding in the entire report, and he has not conceded absolutely anything to his critics in that way. In fact, his findings under severe constraints have held up remarkably well with time. But the tone and timing of this current piece suggest that somehow the report should be “reconsidered”, that it was somehow wrong. Moreover, his comments seem to intentionally mislead about the content of the UN independent committee’s findings on due process in Israel. This is nothing more than a bone to Israel’s apologists, which is deeply problematic for all the reasons discussed here. I am afraid this is a sad, integrity-damaging turn for a man who had singlehandedly done so much to protect people from war crimes in Israel, Palestine, and elsewhere.

    And he should have known better, that is, he should have known that this craven gesture to Israel would not cause his enemies to forgive him and welcome him back to the broader Jewish community. Already these enemies, sensing weakness, attack for the final kill attempt. Jeffrey Goldberg, with the tone of the intellectual gatekeeper he fashions for himself, makes it clear this doesn’t change the “blood libel.” The editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, David Horovitz, tells Goldstone “an apology is not good enough“. We can expect many, many more such attacks.

    Goldstone has done neither his causes of international law and accountability for war crimes—nor himself—any favors with this latest, depressing op-ed.

    http://www.hybridstates.com/2011/04/reconsidering-goldstones-reconsideration/

  8. Mihai Mihai

    http://mondoweiss.net/2011/04/goldstone-op-ed-praises-israeli-investigation-of-gaza-war-crimes-but-un-committee-paints-a-different-picture.html

    Goldstone op-ed praises Israeli investigation of Gaza war crimes, but UN committee paints a different picture

    by Adam Horowitz on April 2, 2011

    Judge Richard Goldstone has a confusing and potentially damaging op-ed in today’s Washington Post titled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes.” Confusing, in that it directly contradicts Goldstone’s own work and that of the UN Human Rights Council, and damaging in that it undercuts some of the most important claims of the UN mission that he led to investigate the Israeli attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008-09.

    Goldstone’s main point seems to be that the UN report that commonly bears his name would have looked different if Israel had given him access to information during the fact-finding mission, and now that Israel has conducted some of its own investigations it appears vindicated to a certain degree. In his article he refers to the U.N. committee of independent experts (led by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis) which was charged with following the Israeli and Palestinian investigations following the Goldstone report. The committee of independent experts recently issued a report on its findings and Goldstone says “McGowan Davis has found that Israel has [investigated itself] to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.” While it is clear that Hamas has not followed the recommendations of the Goldstone Report in establishing a credible investigation, a closer reading of the March 18, 2011 committee of independent experts’ report (PDF) shows that Israel has also neglected to do the same.

    Goldstone uses the Israeli investigation into the attack on the al-Samouni family (which killed 24 people) as an example of Israel’s thourough investigatory and legal process in examining his report’s claims. He writes:

    For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.

    This endorsement of the Israeli investigation is directly contradicted by the expert’s report he appears to be referencing. Here is the relevant passage from the experts’ report:

    The Committee does not have sufficient information to establish the current status of the on-going criminal investigations into the killings of Ateya and Ahmad Samouni, the attack on the Wa’el al-Samouni house and the shooting of Iyad Samouni. This is of considerable concern: reportedly 24 civilians were killed and 19 were injured in the related incidents on 4 and 5 January 2009. Furthermore, the events may relate both to the actions and decisions of soldiers on the ground and of senior officers located in a war room, as well as to broader issues implicating the rules of engagement and the use of drones. There are also reports indicating that the MAG’s decision to investigate was opposed by the then Head of the IDF Southern Command. Media reports further inform that a senior officer, who was questioned “under caution” and had his promotion put on hold, told investigators that he was not warned that civilians were at the location. However, some of those civilians had been ordered there by IDF soldiers from that same officer’s’ unit and air force officers reportedly informed him of the possible presence of civilians. Despite allegedly being made aware of this information, the officer apparently approved air strikes that killed 21 people and injured 19 gathered in the al-Samouni house. Media sources also report that the incident has been described as a legitimate interpretation of drone photographs portrayed on a screen and that the special command investigation, initiated ten months after the incidents, did not conclude that there had been anything out of the ordinary in the strike. As of 24 October 2010, according to media reports, no decision had been made as to whether or not the officer would stand trial. The same officer who assertedly called in the strike reportedly insisted that ambulances not enter the sector under his control, fearing attempts to kidnap soldiers.

    Despite Goldstone’s insinuation, it appears that the officer responsible for bombing the Samouni house is not being legally investigated for the incident.

    That being said, there have been Israeli investigations into cases of possible war crimes in the fighting in Gaza. But, this is a separate issue from whether these investigations are credible. One such investigation was the case of Majid Rabah, a 11 year old, boy who was used as a human shield by the Israeli military (a case that was not specifically mentioned in the Goldstone Report). IDF soldiers were accused of using Rabah and a younger child as human shields and where found guilty. For their crime the soldiers were simply demoted and given a suspended sentence. Here is the experts’ report take on the Israeli investigation:

    According to media reports, two soldiers forced a boy to search bags suspected of being booby trapped and were convicted of offenses including inappropriate behavior and overstepping authority. Both soldiers were demoted and received suspended sentences of three months each.

    It should be noted that while some media reports described the conviction as a credit to the IDF, a former IDF deputy chief of staff reportedly said that the soldiers’ criminal records should be cleared and that such events should be probed inside the units and not in interrogation rooms.The boy’s mother apparently indicated her disappointment over the decision to suspend the prison terms and expressed concern at the message that such a lenient sentence would send to IDF soldiers. Reportedly, in the ruling, the actions of the soldiers were condemned by the judges, but they also gave weight to issues such as the contribution of the soldiers to Israel’s security and their personal circumstances, as well as to their fatigue at the time, the unprecedented nature of the case, and that the soldiers did not seek to degrade or humiliate the boy. Evidently the court also indicated that any future such incidents would be dealt with more severely.

    The Committee does not have sufficient information to comment definitively on this judgment, although it is hard to square the apparent finding that the soldiers “did not seek to degrade or humiliate the boy” with evidence that they intended to put him directly in harm’s way at grave risk to his life. The Committee is likewise mindful of other judicial decisions, such as the case of the soldier who was sentenced to a prison term of seven and a half months for stealing a credit card during the operation in Gaza, where a harsher penalty was imposed for acts that did not entail danger to the life or physical integrity of a civilian, much less to a nine year old child.

    Is this the kind of Israeli investigation that Goldstone wants to hold up?

    Finally, Goldstone makes perhaps his most damning point, “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.”

    This claim is directly contradicted by the experts’ report. In fact, they point to Israel’s unwillingness, and inability, to investigate the policies of the Israeli military as the greatest fault of the Israeli investigation to this point. The report specifically says, “The Committee reiterates the conclusion of its previous report that there is no indication that Israel has opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead.” This implies the entire question of policy has been left unaddressed. This is really disappointing from Judge Goldstone, and will most likely be used to attack the one of the Goldstone Report’s most important charges that Israel executed an intentional strategy to attack Gaza’s civilian infrastructure.

    The experts’ report also addresses the structural reason the Israeli investigation has failed to look into military policy. Evidently the Israeli office responsible for investigating the question of crimes committed in Gaza is the same office that would be responsible for providing legal counsel to the Israeli military’s Chief of Staff and other military authorities. So basically, office that would accusing the military of committing crimes is the same one that would be defending them from the same charges. The experts’ report explains:

    The Committee further noted that notwithstanding the built-in structural guarantees to ensure the MAG’s independence, his dual responsibilities as legal advisor to the Chief of Staff and other military authorities, and his role as supervisor of criminal investigations within the military, raise concerns in the present context given allegations in the FFM report that those who designed, planned, ordered, and oversaw the operation in Gaza were complicit in international humanitarian law and international human rights law violations. It is notable that the MAG himself, in his testimony to the Turkel Commission, pointed out that the military investigations system he heads is not a viable mechanism to investigate and assess high-level policy decisions. When questioned by commission members about his “dual hat” and whether his position at the apex of legal advisory and prosecutorial power can present a conflict of interest under certain circumstances, he stated that “the mechanism is calibrated for the inspection of individual incidents, complaints of war crimes in individual incidents (…). This is not a mechanism for policy. True, it is not suitable for this.” Therefore, the Committee remains of the view that an independent public commission – and not the MAG’s office – is the appropriate mechanism for carrying out an independent and impartial analysis, as called for in the FFM report, into allegations that high-level decision-making related to the Gaza conflict violated international law.

    The original Goldstone Report itself pointed to these structural contradictions as reasons for why Israel will not be able to conduct a thorough investigation into the issues raised in the report. Why Judge Goldstone is now ignoring this issue is unclear.

    In the Post article Goldstone defends his initial report in a manner he has for some time claiming that it wasn’t meant as a thorough legal investigation, it was an initial fact-finding mission. He says:

    Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government.

    Goldstone is absolutely correct, and the inconsistencies and contradictions of his op-ed only demonstrate the need for a thorough legal proceeding has never been greater. Over two years since the fighting in Gaza has ended it is clear that neither Israel nor Hamas is going to conduct credible investigations into the charges leveled against them by the UN fact finding mission. The experts’ report summarized:

    The Committee heard the respective parties’ claims that their systems have established mechanisms to ensure accountability and justice. Yet, after listening to victims, witnesses and human rights organizations, it is clear that the needs of victims are not being adequately addressed.

    For this reason, it is obvious that it is now time to follow-up on the recommendation of the Goldstone Report and refer the case to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to conduct a proper legal investigation.

  9. Leuk die rookgordijnen die u nog probeert.

    Het ligt toch heel duidelijk:

    “Opmerkelijk opiniestuk in de Washington Post van Richard Goldstone, de Zuid-Afrikaanse rechter die onderzoek deed naar eventuele misstanden tijdens de Gaza-oorlog van 2009. Terwijl de Hamas-raketten inmiddels bijkans dagelijks neerdalen op Israël moet hij toegeven dat de conclusie van zijn kritische rapport – Israël zou bewust Palestijnse burgers hebben bestookt – niet klopt. Doemt de vraag op: wat is dat hele rapport dan eigenlijk waard? Niets dus. “Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.”

    Het is opvallend dat Goldstone nu zijn eigen rapport onderuithaalt, ook al wijst hij er ook op dat het rapport er anders had uitgezien als Israël had meegewerkt. Na publicatie is de staat zelf de aantijgingen gaan onderzoeken, wat resulteerde in meer dan 400 honderd onderzoeken naar mogelijk wangedrag van Israelische militairen. Hamas heeft tot op de dag van vandaag niet één onderzoek gelast naar beschudligingen van oorlogsmisdaden en misdaden tegen de menselijkheid.

    Goldstones belangrijkste conclusie is dat Israël het niet op Palestijnse burgers gemunt had: “Civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” Grote kritiek heeft Goldstone ook op de Mensenrechtenraad van de Verenigde Naties, zijn eigenlijke opdrachtgever. “I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.””

    HP / De Tijd
    (vandaag)

  10. Mihai Mihai

    @Likoed

    Het is evident dat Goldstone niet zegt dat de burgers niet als regeringsbeleid als doel waren gesteld. Goldstone zegt slechts dat volgens de onderzoeken van het Israelische leger de burgers niet als doel waren gesteld. “the investigations published by the Israeli military …indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” Hoe je het wendt of keert het staat niet in de tekst wat jij zegt dat het staat.

    Daarna Goldstone zegt nergens dat er geen oorlogmisdaden zijn geweest. Misschien waren slechts de aanvallen op burgers niet meer als oorlogmisdaden, maar die zijn niet de enige soorten oorlogmisdaden mogelijk.

    Dus jouw titel deugt niet.

    En als laatst, zie mijn reactie hierboven van 04/04/2011. Wat Goldstone schrijft is in strijd met wat in het rapport staat.

    In conclusie: je kan een rectificatie plaatsen.

  11. De essentie is echt heel simpel: er waren geen door Israelisch beleid opzettelijk gepleegde oorlogsmisdaden.

    Er zijn – in beperkte mate – spijtig genoeg wel burgers omgekomen door vergissingen. En er is sprake van enkele gevallen van oorlogsmisdaden – dus in strijd met instructies – op individueel niveau door Israelische soldaten. Ons zijn drie gevallen bekend, die zijn bestraft.

    Dat is triest, maar dat is blijkbaar nooit helemaal te voorkomen in oorlogssituaties, zie om maar eens iets te noemen het het Nederlandse en Duitse leger in Afghanistan.

  12. Mihai Mihai

    @Likoed

    Waar staat in het stuk van Goldstone letterlijk dat er geen oorlogmisdaden zijn gepleegd? Want dit was de titel van je stuk: “Géén Israëlische oorlogsmisdaden in GAZA.”

    En heb je mijn reactie van 04/04/2011 gelezen? Zelfs wat Goldone zegt klopt niet. In het rapport staat iets anders.

  13. @Ticu

    U valt in herhalingen. Ook voor een objectieve beoordelaar als HP / de Tijd is er op basis wat Goldstone schrijft maar 1 conclusie mogelijk; dezelfde die wij trekken dus.

  14. Mihai Mihai

    @Likoed

    HP / de Tijd citeert net zo fout als jij. Bewijs dat Goldstone zegt: “Géén Israëlische oorlogsmisdaden in GAZA.”

    En heb je mijn reactie van 04/04/2011 gelezen? Zelfs wat Goldone zegt klopt niet. In het rapport staat iets anders.

  15. Hannes Minkema Hannes Minkema

    @Likoed: Onzin wordt geen spat waarder door deze vaak te herhalen. Uw kwalificatie van de HP/De Tijd-journalist als ‘objectieve beoordelaar’ is lachwekkend, gezien de gemakkelijk te traceren onjuistheden in zijn stukje (zie mijn commentaar aldaar).

    U maakt zich ook weinig geloofwaardig doordat u bij herhaling niet ingaat op Mihais hoofdstelling: dat uw titel feitelijk onjuist is want volstrekt onbewezen en een slechte interpretatie van Goldstones opiniestuk.

    Tot slot wijs ik u en Mihai nog op een andere bron, die Likoed ongetwijfeld subjectief zal vinden omdat zijn opvattingen niet stroken met de hier uitgedrukte.

    http://bit.ly/f8PNRN

  16. Pieterman Pieterman

    Ik lees op dit moment de memoires van jood Samuel, de Britse liberaal die in 1920 de eerste high commissioner werd van het mandaat Palestina.
    Die memoires werden in 1945 gepubliceerd.
    Samuel valt me tegen, hij blijkt een duidelijke zionist te zijn.
    Het woord Palestijn ben ik nog niet tegengekomen, duidelijk is dat die weg moeten, ‘uitgekocht’.
    Duidelijk is ook dat hij het er mee eens is dat de joodse staat sluipenderwijs gesticht moet worden, ‘ultimate aim’.
    Daarmee maakt hij duidelijk dat zijn eerste mandaatrapport gelogen was, dat het wel waar was wat de Palestijnen vreesden, toen al, verdreven te worden.
    Interessant is zijn discussie met Lloyd George, Brits eerste minister sinds 1916 of zo.
    Lloyd George schreef in zijn memoires, die ergens in de dertiger jaren verschenen, dat de Balfour verklaring de beloning was voor de joodse scheikundige Weizmann, tevens zionistisch aanvoerder, voor het uitvinden van een bacterieel proces om aceton te maken, de Britten hadden daar tekort aan, en konden zo onvoldoende kordiet, een springstof, maken.
    Lloyd George was minister voor munitie productie.
    Ook had die Balfour verklaring tot doel de Britten steun van joden in neutrale landen te bezorgen, vooral in de VS.
    Er staat niet bij Samuel dat zonder VS militair ingrijpen de Britten in november 1917 hadden moeten capituleren.
    Samuel bestrijdt wat Lloyd George beweert, toch vindt je bij vele historici de opvatting dat joden de Britten de Balfour verklaring hebben afgedwongen in ruil voor militaire redding door de VS.
    Het VS isolationisme, wat Roosevelt zoveel hoofdbrekens kostte toen hij oorlog voorbereidde, kwam doordat de VS bevolking achteraf doorkreeg waarvoor hun zonen waren opgeofferd.
    De verklaring van Churchill uit 1922 heb ik nog niet goed gelezen, maar daar staat nog eens wat ook in de Balfour verklaring staat, dat de rechten van de bestaande bevolking niet geschaad zouden worden.
    Churchill, wiens moeder in elk gaval van joodse afkomst was, keerde zich pas van het zionisme af toen zijn vriend Moyne in Egypte, 1950 of zo, werd vermoord door zionisten, omdat hij een deal met Eichmann over een miljoen joden zou hebben afgehouden.
    Wrang is wat Samuel verwacht, dat de stichting van een joodse staat in het gebied waar, zoals hij schrijft, een 1000 jaar niets is gebeurd omdat er geen joden waren, dat die stichting veel zal opleveren voor de wereld, cultureel, wetenschappelijk, etc.
    Wat Israel heeft opgeleverd weten we inmiddels, een wreed koloniaal regime wat er voor heeft gezorgd dat joden de paria’s van de hele wereld zijn geworden, alleen hun greep op de VS houdt hun ondergang nog tegen.
    Ghadaffi gebruikt o.a. Israelische wapens.
    Georgia gebruikte die ook in de aanval op Z Ossetië.
    Een cynische opmerking over Israel is dat het enige wat Israel heeft bijgedragen aan de beschaving de Uzi is.
    Nog cynischer is de visie die de anti Islam hetze toeschrijft aan joden, die visie werd al eind 2001 in de Guardian gepubliceerd.
    Tot slot, leugens worden helaas waar door die vaak te herhalen, in de opvatting dat waar is wat mensen geloven.

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