The Goldstone report accused 'Israel' of a disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population
The Zionist media are conspiring to soften the impact of the highly embarrassing news of Judge Richard Goldstone's confirmation of widespread war crimes committed by Israeli military forces in Gaza last December and January, by spinning the Goldstone report as, "UN probe: Israel, Palestinians both guilty of Gaza war crimes."
This spin is easily revealed to be a species of Talmudic delusion by citing a solitary datum: during the Israeli-Palestinian war in Gaza "some 1,300 Palestinians were killed, including at least several hundred civilians; as well as 13 Israelis: 10 soldiers and 3 civilians" (New York Times).
It is obvious to everyone except the propaganda ministers who compose the headlines for the American press, that there is no equivalence between the heinous war crimes of the Israeli occupiers and the relatively ineffective armed resistance of the severely oppressed Palestinians.
Justice Richard Goldstone: Israeli war crimes in Gaza
From: The New York Times online, Sept. 15, 2009
A United Nations fact-finding mission investigating the three-week war in Gaza...issued a lengthy, scathing report on Tuesday (Sept. 15)...The four-member mission (is) led by Justice Richard Goldstone, a widely respected South African judge...The report, the bulk of which focused on the Israeli violations, said that during the war, Israeli forces engaged in a deliberate policy of collective punishment in furtherance of “an overall and continuing policy aimed at punishing the Gaza population” through blockades and the destruction of food, water and sanitation systems of its people...
In one case, armored bulldozers of the Israeli forces systematically flattened the chicken coops of a farm that reportedly supplied 10 percent of the Gazan egg market, killing all 31,000 chickens inside. In another, the forces carried out a strike on a sewage plant wall, sending 200,000 cubic meters of raw sewage into neighboring farmland, the report said. The panel did not find a justifiable reason for the Israelis’ actions in either case.
It also found that the Israeli forces used disproportionate force against the Palestinian civilian population. In a number of cases, it said, Israeli forces launched “direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome,” even when the facts indicated no justifiable military objective. Those incidents, the report concluded, amounted to war crimes.
Israeli forces twice shelled civilian hospitals in Gaza, but in neither case was the attack justified, the report found. In the attack on Al Quds Hospital, the shelling of the building and an adjacent ambulance facility with white phosphorus shells caused fires that took a day to extinguish, and at no point was any warning given of an imminent strike, the report said. The panel found no evidence of the enemy fire that the Israeli military cited as rationale for its attack.
Another event that the panel judged equivalent to a war crime took place in the Samouni neighborhood in Gaza City, when Israel soldiers shelled a house where soldiers had forced Palestinian civilians to gather. In seven cases, the report found, “civilians were shot while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and in some cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so.”
Israeli forces also intentionally attacked civilians in aiming a missile strike at a mosque during the early evening prayer, killing 15 people, and in firing antipersonnel flechette munitions, which release thousands of metal darts, on a crowd of family members and neighbors at a condolence tent, killing 5.
“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,” the report said. The conduct of the Israeli armed forces in these instances, it said, “constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention” and as such, “give rise to individual criminal responsibility.”
Palestinian armed groups, the group found, fired repeated rockets and mortars into southern Israel. By failing to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population, those actions also “constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity,” the report said.
Responding to Israeli allegations that Palestinian fighters used civilians as human shields, the panel found that Palestinian armed groups did launch rockets from urban areas in Gaza, and that Palestinian armed groups “were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from civilians.”
However, the mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants “mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack,” the report said, nor did it find evidence to suggest that Palestinian armed groups “either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks.”
The mission was tasked by United Nations Human Rights Council in April to investigate all violations of international human rights law and humanitarian law that might have been committed during the conflict. As part of Israel’s refusal to cooperate, it banned the panel members from entering the country. The panel made two visits to Gaza, entering from Egypt, but conducted the bulk of their research from Geneva.
The panel conducted 188 interviews, reviewed 10,000 pages of documents, and viewed more than 1,000 photographs and videos before drawing its conclusions. The panel said that Israel did not respond to a comprehensive list of questions, but that Palestinian authorities in both Gaza and the West Bank cooperated.