Debunking the US’ Objections to the Goldstone Report:

November 5, 2009

US Congresswoman Ileana Ros-lehtinen’s Speech Against the Goldstone Report: Right Before the House Dismisses the Report as “Biased” 344-36.

Here are some quotes (in blue) from Ros-Lehtinen’s speech to the US House of Representatives yesterday in which she condemns the Goldstone Report as biased…My responses, based on the Goldstone report and other sources follow.

“Israel exercised its right as a sovereign nation and its obligation to defend itself and its citizens and its very existence against attacks by Hamas and other extremist groups”

Goldstone never rejected Israel’s right to self-defense. He made it very clear that the rocket attacks on Israeli civilians were also a war crime and were unacceptable. Israel has the right to target Hamas militants. Israel does NOT, however, have the right to collectively punish 1.5 million Gazans for the crimes of a few. That is against international law and is a war crime in itself.

If Israel had used its technology, the most advanced warfare technology in the world, to do precision strikes on Hamas strongholds, instead of civilians and civilian houses, mosques, schools, water treatment plants, chicken farms, and other infrastructure—they would not now be accused of committing MULTIPLE war crimes.

And as for Israel defending its “very existence”…Hamas and its Qassam rockets pose no threat to the “very existence of Israel” and to say that they do is simply ridiculous.

“Israel did so while taking extraordinary measures to minimize the risk of civilian casualties …[Goldstone made] sweeping accusations that Israel had deliberately attacked civilians…Goldstone portrayed Israel not as defending itself but as ‘as the deliberate infliction of violence on civilians'”

Israel could have avoided killing hundreds of innocent civilians, but unfortunately, their policy—according to Israeli soldiers who served in that conflict—was to shoot at anything they saw.

Aviv: “That’s what is so nice, supposedly, about Gaza: You see a person on a road, walking along a path. He doesn’t have to be with a weapon, you don’t have to identify him with anything and you can just shoot him. With us it was an old woman, on whom I didn’t see any weapon. The order was to take the person out, that woman, the moment you see her.” From: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1072475.html

And they developed this strategy of targeting civilian populations as a means to coerce the leaders in Lebanon.

“What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. […] We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. […] This is not a recommendation. This is a plan. And it has been approved.”

On 6 January 2009, during the military operations in Gaza, Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai stated: “It [should be] possible to destroy Gaza, so they will understand not to mess with us”. He added that “it is a great opportunity to demolish thousands of houses of all the terrorists, so they will think twice before they launch rockets”. “I hope the operation will come to an end with great achievements and with the complete destruction of terrorism and Hamas. In my opinion, they should be razed to the ground, so thousands of houses, tunnels and industries will be demolished”. He added that “residents of the South are strengthening us, so the operation will continue until a total destruction of Hamas [is achieved]”
On 2 February 2009, after the end of the military operations, Eli Yishai went on: “Even if the rockets fall in an open air or to the sea, we should hit their infrastructure, and destroy 100 homes for every rocket fired.” On 13 January 2009, Israel’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, was quoted as saying:
“We have proven to Hamas that we have changed the equation. Israel is not a country upon which you fire missiles and it does not respond. It is a country that when you fire on its citizens it responds by going wild – and this is a good thing”

The Israeli government likes to defend itself by talking about the pre-recorded phone messages they warned civilians with before bombing their houses. Although in many cases, the messages were inaccurate and would occur without any bombings for days. So eventually, the family would move back into their house for lack of anywhere safer—then the house would get bombed, and they would be killed.

In other cases, the messages and leaflets told groups of Gazan civilians to go to certain places, for safety. After they had assembled at that place, the Israelis would bomb it—with hundreds of civilians inside!

Israel also used illegal weapons such as white phosphorous and DIME weapons in extremely crowded civilian areas—knowing they could not control the effects of these weapons as they are not precision strikes.

There are many stories of entire families being killed in their houses and courtyards, women waving white flags being shot or killed by drones…is this Israel’s idea of minimizing civilian casualties??
A Gaza family that lost 29 relatives to Operation Cast Lead, which also left 45 family members injured and their home destroyed: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1070054.html

Richard Kemp (former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan): “[Israel] did more to safeguard the rights of civilians than any other army in the history of warfare”

Based on my response to the above statement, I think we can agree that this statement by Richard Kemp is COMPLETELY ridiculous.

Goldstone stated in his report that the amount of war crimes and innocent lives lost in Gaza is MUCH higher than anything that could be explained by “mistakes” or “confusion of the combat zone” The pattern and quantity of “these mistakes” show a different story—a story where Israel PLANNED strikes on civilians and civilian infrastructure.

The fact that they used Gaza civilians as human shields—kidnapping, handcuffing and blindfolding random Gazan men and boys, and then forcing them to knock on doors of houses the Israelis suspect Hamas to be hiding in, so that if the militants shoot, they will shoot the Gazan boy instead of the soldier….this shows very clearly how much “respect” Israel has for the lives of innocent Gazans.

It shows clearly that Israel values the lives of their soldiers so much that they would make it a policy to shoot before asking…so that 1400 Gazans would be dead at the end of the war compared to 9 Israeli soldiers (half of which were killed by friendly fire).

“so-called fact finding mission…It had nothing to do with fact finding, and had everything to do with persecuting Israel for defending herself…(and she goes on to call his report…) a 525 page hatchet job commonly known as the Goldstone Report”

First of all, its 575 pages. Did she even read it? Did she even open it?

Goldstone employed many different methods of fact-finding in his mission, including: the viewing of reports from many different sources, analysis of photographic and video footage, interviews with victims and witnesses, site visits, review of medical reports, forensic analysis of weapons and ammunition found at sites, wide circulation of public call for written submissions, and public hearings in Gaza and Geneva. (from the Goldstone Report introduction, which you can find in its entirety online.)

He could have had more facts and information from the Israeli government and civilians but Israel REFUSED to cooperate with the Goldstone mission and would not even allow him into Israel, Gaza, or the West Bank. He had to go into Gaza through Egypt.

If Israel is now complaining about a lack of Israeli perspective, they only have themselves to blame.

Goldstone accepts Israel’s right to defend itself from the rocket attacks—he never denies that right. He does, however, deny the practice of targeting civilians and committing multiple war crimes in order to do that.

“The mission prejudged Israel and targeted ONLY Israel…why are there only 2 pages about the rocket attacks in a 575 page report? [Israel] suffered thousands of rockets over 8 years”

There is an entire section of the report (section three) which investigates (to the best of his ability—without any cooperation from the government of Israel) the rocket attacks on southern Israel and their effects on Israel’s civilian population.

This section is not “2 pages” as Ros-Lehiten says—that is a blatant lie. You need only to look at the reports ‘Table of Contents’ to find out there are dozens and dozens of pages investigating the rockets and their effects on Israel’s civilian population.

And besides, how can you have half of the report dedicated to Israel and half dedicated to Gaza when Israel committed multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity while Hamas has committed only one—the rocket attacks. Which have killed around 10 Israeli citizens in as many years.

Qassam rockets are extremely inaccurate weapons and cannot be compared to the weapons Israel used indiscriminately against Gaza’s civilian population. The truth is clear—10 Israeli citizens were killed by the rocket attacks (in the past 10 years), while over 1000 Gazan civilians were killed in three weeks by Israel’s attacks. And if you really want to be equal—then add on a few hundred more Gazan civilian deaths to make up for the past ten years of Israeli indiscriminate attacks to the 1000 already accounted from Cast Lead.

“Hamas deliberately launched attacks from hospitals schools and mosques”

Goldstone investigated this excuse of Israel for targeting civilian infrastructure thoroughly. And although he cannot exclude the possibility that this kind of thing happened, he found no evidence to prove that it did.

This is just one more excuse for Israel to indiscriminately attack the civilian population of Gaza and collectively punish 1.5 million people for the crimes of Hamas.

“As we vote on these resolutions, Israel continues to fire rockets at innocent Israel civilians”

Stop for a minute and ask yourselves one question. WHY are the militant groups in Gaza shooting rockets at Israel?

Is it because they are all “irrational fanatic terrorists”??

Or could it be because Israel has occupied their land for 40 years, subjected them to indiscriminate attacks regularly since then, killing thousands of innocent people over the decades, and has now been imposing a strict blockade on the territory that has caused a complete humanitarian disaster in the territory?

Children in Gaza have growth stunting—they do not get enough food because the blockade doesn’t allow enough nutritious food in and the Israeli army keeps destroying farms and factories that produce food.

At least 20% of children in Gaza have post traumatic stress disorder. Is that normal? Or could that be a symptom that Israel has terrorized the region for years?

What would you do if your family was starving, you had no hope for a future, could not even travel to the next town safely, and you could be bombed and killed at any minute?


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