Friday, September 18, 2009

The Goldstone Commission: 7 Questions They Forgot To Ask

By it's own admission, and all those who leap to its defense, the Goldstone Commission Report is thorough, meticulous, fair--and of course: even-handed.

But just how even-handed could the Goldstone commission have been, when it somehow overlooked some of the key questions that one would think would have been asked by a group that really did intend to be fair?

In Blocking the Truth of the Gaza War: How the Goldstone Commission Understated the Hamas Threat to Palestinian Civilians, Col. (res.) Jonathan D. Halevi addresses 7 questions that the Goldstone Commission never thought to ask.

The questions address the issue of war crimes--but not war crimes that Gazans committed against Israel. Instead, Col. Halevi asks why the Goldstone did not see fit to investigate war crimes that Palestinian Arabs committed against themselves:

Was the UN commission's approach one-sided against Israel, or unbiased and objective as commission chairman Richard Goldstone contended? Statements of Palestinians recorded by the commission and posted on the UN website provide authentic evidence of the commission's methodology and raise serious questions about its intentions to discover the truth. Commission members did not ask the interviewed Palestinians questions about the activities of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip which could be classified as war crimes or that were potentially dangerous to innocent Palestinians. They never asked about:

  1. Launching rockets at Israeli towns and villages from within residential dwellings;
  2. Firing mortar shells into Palestinian neighborhoods when IDF forces were operating in or near the area;
  3. Firing anti-tank missiles, rifles, and machine guns at Palestinian buildings in Gaza suspected of having been entered by IDF forces despite the presence of Palestinian civilians in the area;
  4. Seizing private homes from which to ambush IDF forces;
  5. Booby-trapping houses before and during the war and detonating the bombs;
  6. Planting various types of anti-personnel and anti-vehicle IEDs near houses and detonating them;
  7. Sniping and firing heavy machine guns at IDF forces within Palestinian residential areas.

None of the statements taken by the commission (as posted on the UN website) reported even one single instance of the presence of armed Palestinians, or of armed Palestinians firing rockets at Israel or shooting at IDF forces operating in the Gaza Strip. There was no serious consideration of Palestinian "friendly fire" incidents, which occurs with the most disciplined armies, but is not adequately examined as an explanation for Palestinian losses, and we can only guess how many Palestinian civilians were killed or wounded by Palestinian fire. In fact, they reported that throughout the entire three weeks of fighting there was no significant Palestinian resistance.

The commission did not press the witnesses in order to elicit more information and did not confront them with the reports issued by the Palestinian terrorist organizations themselves, which detailed the fighting in a way that often contradicted the Palestinian witnesses. It did not adequately examine Palestinian rules of engagement - or the lack of any such rules. In addition, the witnesses hid vital information from the commission regarding the presence of armed terrorists or exchanges of fire in their vicinity, casting doubt on their reliability.

Read the whole thing.

The issue is not what a nice guy Richard Goldstone is or what a swell and impartial judge he is. What is relevant is whether the report is accurate and truthful.

It is enlightening when those who claim to be interested in the welfare of Palestinian Arabs are silent in the face of Palestinian vs Palestinian violence.

So what are we to think when the Goldstone Commission demonstrates the same tendency?

It just occurred to me that there is a certain irony here: the Goldstone Commission, in order to maintain the appearance of evenhandedness in their criticism of Hamas and Israel, could not afford to be evenhanded and impartial in detailing the full extent of the atrocities committed by Hamas--including against their fellow Palestinians.

That's only because the foundation of the Goldstone Commission is a lie.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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