Thursday, December 10, 2009

"The terrorists' Magna Carta": a former Israel Justice Minister speaks out against the Goldstone Report



Now that the well publicized Goldstone Report is being circulated throughout the Western World, it's legal foundation, as well as the credibility of it's "research" is being increasingly brought under scrutiny by political and legal authorities in the few countries where this document has not been accepted as prima face evidence of what really occurred during the 21 day Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza, referred to by Israel as Operation Cast lead.

The 575 page report, said to be based on more than 10,000 pages of documents, photos and other "evidence" appears to put the onus of the blame on Israel, while whitewashing most, if not all, of actions by the Hamas led "militants", including using many Palestinians as human shields ("Hamas created a human shield of women and children, the elderly, and the mujahadeen against the Zionist bombing machine", as stated by a Hamas member and noted on p. 475 of the Report).

As a rebuttal to this report - which has been accepted by the UN Council on Human Rights by the lopsided vote of 25 to 6 - one of Israel's most distinguished legal authorities, Professor Daniel Friedman, who served as Israel's Justice Minister from February 2007 until March 2009, wrote a scathing rebuttal to the report. The report was completed by a UN sanctioned commission headed by another prominent legal personality, Judge Richard Goldstone, who like Friedman is also of the Jewish faith.

To put it bluntly, Professor Friedman dissects the so-called legal document, particularly the sections in which Israeli military forces are accused of being responsible for the killing of more than 1,200 Palestinians, the majority of whom were actually Palestinian "militants" or according to Friedman and Israeli political leaders, outright terrorists. In Freidman's letter, published in the Friday edition of the Jerusalem Post, he wrote: "false accusations against Israel are made in the absence of evidence or even contrary to the evidence, while the innocence of the terrorists is presumed even in the face of convincing evidence of guilt".

Friedman also noted statements given by outside military officials, including British Col. Richard Kemp, who said before a session of the UN Human Rights Council in October, that "the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of areas to be targeted, dropping over 2 million leaflets and making over 100,000 phone calls….The civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas' way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians".

What can be more to-the-point than that?

Later on in his letter, Professor Friedman notes that the make-up of the UN investigative commission itself included such people as Prof. Christine Chinkin, who one of the signatures to a letter published in the London Sunday Times in January that was entitled "Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defense – it's a war crime". This should have resulted in Prof. Chinkin being considered as unfit to sit on the Goldstone Commission, but instead, Goldstone said he had no problem with her participation, and even considered Prof. Chinkin to be an "intelligent, sensible, even-handed person". "Even handed" indeed! Goldstone himself, when touring Gaza on a personal fact-finding mission following the fighting (see photo), was accompanied by Hamas officials who appeared to literally stage the entire visit, including statements by so called "witnesses to Israeli atrocities". Professor Friedman points out that both Hamas and Hizbollah are experts in diverting public away from their own criminal acts, and that both organizations are being aided and trained by Iran. Friedman even goes on to say that actions of groups like Hamas and Hizbollah are not unlike those of criminal organizations like the Mafia in regards to "respect for the law".

Prof. Friedman ends his rebuttal with a stern warning to Western societies to realize that actions of groups like Hamas are no better that those by organizations like the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and that all of these groups, especially Hamas, are now going to use the findings of the Goldstone Report as their "Magna Carta" to commit further acts of terror and intimidation with full assurance that they will be left alone by such world bodies as the UN Human Rights Council. Friedman warns that the result of this report will no only be damaging to Israel but to the entire Western world as well, as terror organizations like Hamas, Al Qaeda and others now have immunity.

Immunity! With this "immunity" we are all losers in a world battle against an uncompromising and unrelenting enemy.

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