Reports from Gaza - Goldstone and Israel's response

The Goldstone report has generated a lot of controversy. Sadly this is due more to
misinformation and disinformation than the actual contents of the
report. This
controversy is part-and–parcel of the information wars that is
of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

The Goldstone Report is not some ‘Elders of Zion’ propaganda. The report documents the 1000s of rockets and mortars that have struck southern Israel, the psychological and physical trauma this cause. The Report inherently accepts Israel’s right to self-defence and Palestinian’s right to self-defence. The question is on how is such a military action carried out. In general firing rockets into Sderot amounts to a war crime; just as deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza amounts to a war crime.

A second major feature that is often misunderstood is that the Goldstone report only sought to identify if there were prima facie grounds to call either the Israelis and/or Palestinians for a breach of international humanitarian law? A prima facie case only requires evidence that has some probative value. If there are grounds to initiate a formal court trial - whether that is domestic or international.

One of the ironies of the people’s understandings of the Goldstone Report is

it only took 19 pages of evidence [Part 3: pp 346-365] to establish a prima facie case that Palestinians had breached international humanitarian law eg the firing of the rockets and mortars. And yet it took 262 pages of evidence (i.e 13 times as much) to establish a prima-facie case for Israel to set up investigations? Curiously, anti-Palestinian groups miss this blatantly elementary legal point.

As a response I have put together a series of reports that have been prepared in response to the Gaza War of 2008-2009. Essentially I have just put together extracts

form these reports. It may appear a bit unwieldy, but once I complete the
first stage, i.e. get the essential facts; then I will look to summarise it.

The outline of the document is:

Part 1. The Goldstone report........... 5

Part 2. Israel’s response to the Goldstone Report........... 21

2.1 Israel’s July 2009 Response....... 21

2.2 Israel’s January 2010 Response....... 23

Part 3. The Secretary General’s Response, February 2010........... 27

Part 4. The UN HQ Board of Inquiry, May
2009........... 28

Part 5. The Goldstone Report - Blog........... 30

Part 6. Goldstone Transcript: Righteous in our Generation........... 49

To view this document in detail (albeit a draft) please click here (it is a google doc)

Part 5 is my own brief attempt previously to summarise the report. I also have
a separate blog link for this.

My hope is that documenting violence, from which ever side is a first step to

peace. If people are held accountable for their violence to another, this
will ultimately reduce the violence to each other.


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Comment by Stewart Mills on February 16, 2010 at 2:51pm
Hi David,

Thank you for the positive feedback. Your detective work is good. I am 3 subjects away from finishing a graduate law degree/Juris Doctor.

I agree the Goldstone Report is but one of the many building blocks required; and certainly I believe it helping to shine light on a very open wound.

I agree that the US should be held accountable for her actions in providing military support to Israel and coercing diplomatic support for Israel at the expense of Palestinians. However, there may be greater opportunities to bring about change through political action rather than legal action. That is not to say that legal action has no place; just that from my perspective the real force is political will; and the key question is how do we create the political will to ensure that all sides are treated fairly, with respect and dignity? Because certainly Palestinians are living in 3rd world conditions under continued occupation. And certainly Jewish-Israelis live with the ever present fear of being attacked by their neighbours - although history has shown that pre-emptive attacks has been a tried an tested 'defence' of Israel -ightly or wrongly.

It would be good to investigate what legal options there are to put the heat on US politicians to change?

It is a matter of finding the right connections.

For example the villagers of Bi'lin who sued 2 Canadian companies in Canada for war crimes.

Or the arrest warrant that was prepared for Tzipi Livni in London in December 2009.
Comment by Ohad Bracha on February 14, 2010 at 3:01am
Stewart I agree if it goes to everyone including Australia and not on a selective wars according to political views of the UN or yours.
its a jock and you can not think that Israelis (that most of them been in the army and knows how stuff really are) to take this seriously .

again it is all about what the results of the report will be .

today I read that the IDF decided to send a humanitarian unit with every army unit in to wars as an answer to this report .

ridicules right? well I thought it fits the report and its on the same level

one day I will have peace with the Palestinians and war with the world , with every hypocrite out there

its karma what comes around goes around
Comment by Stewart Mills on February 14, 2010 at 2:29am
Ohad, the Goldstone Report is balanced an fair; and an essential part of the international process.

If you agree that people should be held accountable for their actions in war? If you believe there should be limits placed on the level of force used? Then you are in agreement with the Geneva Conventions state. This is a foundational principle of international law. This is what the rules of conduct state in the IDF, the US and Australian armed forces. If people breach those rules then someone must accept responsibility for this. This is what the Goldstone Report says. It established a prima facie case that both sides had committed breaches of international law and should be investigated (domestically first and through the international process domestic parties were failing their international obligations).

Israle has initiated 150 investigations already through the military review process. To date there is only 1 conviction of an IDF soldier who stole $400 from a Palestinian using their credit card. On the Palestinian side there have bbeen arrests of Fatah activists who launced rockets or mortars -although I will be the first to state this is more of the political process interfering in the judiciary; than the judiciary at work.

What hope is there of building consistency in international law if the process is rejected from the outset? We need to support the Goldstone's report call for an open and transparent review of military actions during the Gaza war.

Those in favour of peace must look to the judicial process to protect people's fundamental human rights (eg right to life, liberty and protection of property). Faith in military solutions just lead to revenge and hatred.

Thank you again Richard Goldstone for your committment to acknowledging Israel's right to self defence; but your desire that such defence be conducted in a proportional manner. Thank you Mr Goldstone that you have held to account Palestinians who have fired rockets and mortars onto southern Israel. Thank you Mr Goldstone, that you seek to build an international community based on the rule of law and seek to hold people accountable for breaches of military actions.
Comment by Ohad Bracha on February 12, 2010 at 6:06pm
Stewrt this is all good and fine if we lived a bubble and the only two countries in the world were Israel and palestine.

I don't think the report by it self is wrong I do think it is hypocritical.

and now when the report is already out it is very much about what the results of it will be.


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