March 21st KEY Date in Human Rights Council for Gaza Conflict Victims

UPDATE Friday, 3/18/11, 7:35pm: The UN appointed Committee of Independent Experts released their updated assessment of the Israeli and Palestinian domestic investigations into violations of international law committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict.  It is this assessment which is going to be reviewed and debated by members of the Human Rights Council Monday, March 21st.  (See below).

UPDATE Friday, 3/18/11, 7:25pm: Amnesty Int’l just released their updated assessment of the Israeli and Palestinian domestic investigations.

Original Post: Next Monday, March 21st, the Human Rights Council (HRC) will consider a critical report.  The report assesses the Israeli and Palestinian investigations into serious violations of international law committed by Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups during the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict.

This report is expected to match a similar assessment submitted to the HRC last September that concluded that both the Israeli government and the Palestinian side have failed to carry out investigations that are credible, independent and in conformity with international law.They have also failed to demonstrate a commitment to prosecuting perpetrators.  AI’s assessment concurs with these findings.

Despite clear documentation last September that both Israel and Hamas, the de facto administration in Gaza, were falling short of their obligations, Amnesty was shocked and dismayed to see the Human Rights Council fail to outline a clear plan for accountability and instead opt for delay.

AI wants HRC members to know that AI members worldwide are expecting real results this time.

The United States must show strong leadership and urge the HRC to take concrete measures to bring justice to the victims. If the U.S. supports accountability and justice again, as they recently did with Libya in the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), then other members of the HRC will be hard-pressed not to follow.

The UNSC made the right decision in referring Libya to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for serious human rights violations against civilian demonstrators. If they can do this for the victims in Libya, then they should also do so for the victims of the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict, where war crimes by both sides have already been extensively documented.

The U.N. has shown that it can take rapid, meaningful action on a human rights situation needing attention and the U.S. has proven its willingness to utilize the international justice process. It is now vital that the U.S. build on the meaningful action it took with Libya and end the environment of impunity in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well by addressing human rights abuses equitably in the HRC – regardless of which countries are involved.

March 7th, AI delegates presented the President of the HRC a petition with almost 67,000 signatures urging the HRC to stop delaying justice and pass a resolution establishing concrete measures to help pave the way for the U.N. Security Council to refer this situation to the ICC.

Both Palestinians and Israelis deserve accountability, justice and reparations and it’s time for the international justice process to be allowed to continue.

Join Amnesty members and other human rights advocates around the world.  Send a clear message to Secretary of State Clinton and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, demanding  justice for ALL victims of the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict.   Enough is enough.  The time for accountability and justice is now – for everyone.

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44 thoughts on “March 21st KEY Date in Human Rights Council for Gaza Conflict Victims

  1. Pingback: Whodunnit? Fake Phone Poll Pushing Voters in Marrickville « KADAITCHA

  2. Concerning to international justice, I can’t understand the passivity, hypocrisy, negligence and cowardice, with which the involved countries are acting when it comes to defend it.
    The Palestinian-Israeli conflict should have been resolved years ago, but the interest conflict that U.S., Israel and some European countries have established in the Middle East, is blocking completely the peace process between peoples.
    Neither global corruption scandals, not even those who have profited illegally from the commons goods or those who engaged in violence and cruelty against his own people, are reason enough for these leaders remained in power or have been voted again. This fact weakens democracy quality on all countries.
    The punishment and security absence that they will not be investigated judicially, makes politicians involved in suspected cases can them violate freely and shamelessly basic human rights.
    The mistake made by Bush and Blair in Iraq and Afghanistan in their proved mass killings…, the nasty's genocide experience in Bosnia, has been a futile lesson when it comes to regulate or managing international intervention whose aim should be to help bravely people whose struggle is win their freedom.
    So far, international intervention has proven to be utterly null and inefficient; the clearest example is what is happening in Libya.
    What’s constitutional criminal court? what is this court for?; When in many occasions, it has been restrained by the UN? Especially some of the countries which make up the organization, like China, EU, Russia and much of Africa, whose manifestations of human rights violation are constant and repeated.
    The criminal court constitutional or whatever would be the resolution that will establish the UN Security Council, should assume once and for all, his responsibility to protect those who are rebelling against their tyrants, even if it means a worthy military intervention, imposing to the troubled's territory, a just and legitimate authority, for the only purpose of protecting victims.
    If this fails now with the Libyan conflict, we can never prevent violence among peoples and neither will achieve peace.

  3. Concerning to international justice, I can’t understand the passivity, hypocrisy, negligence and cowardice, with which the involved countries are acting when it comes to defend it.
    The Palestinian-Israeli conflict should have been resolved years ago, but the interest conflict that U.S., Israel and some European countries have established in the Middle East, is blocking completely the peace process between peoples.
    Neither global corruption scandals, not even those who have profited illegally from the commons goods or those who engaged in violence and cruelty against his own people, are reason enough for these leaders remained in power or have been voted again. This fact weakens democracy quality on all countries.
    The punishment and security absence that they will not be investigated judicially, makes politicians involved in suspected cases can them violate freely and shamelessly basic human rights.
    The mistake made by Bush and Blair in Iraq and Afghanistan in their proved mass killings…, the nasty’s genocide experience in Bosnia, has been a futile lesson when it comes to regulate or managing international intervention whose aim should be to help bravely people whose struggle is win their freedom.
    So far, international intervention has proven to be utterly null and inefficient; the clearest example is what is happening in Libya.
    What’s constitutional criminal court? what is this court for?; When in many occasions, it has been restrained by the UN? Especially some of the countries which make up the organization, like China, EU, Russia and much of Africa, whose manifestations of human rights violation are constant and repeated.
    The criminal court constitutional or whatever would be the resolution that will establish the UN Security Council, should assume once and for all, his responsibility to protect those who are rebelling against their tyrants, even if it means a worthy military intervention, imposing to the troubled’s territory, a just and legitimate authority, for the only purpose of protecting victims.
    If this fails now with the Libyan conflict, we can never prevent violence among peoples and neither will achieve peace.

  4. Thank you, dear Simon Naim, for speaking Truth before the power of the Israel Lobby !

    Amnesty & Ms Garwood have again spoken out for the People in Gaza.

  5. Pingback: Anton’s Weekly Digest of International Law Scholarship, Vol. 2, No. 11 (17 Mar 2011) | Anton's Weekly Digest of International Law

  6. Thank you Amnesty for completely ignoring that last Friday, Itamar's Fogel family – father Udi, 37, mother Ruth, 36, 10-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad, and three-month-old Hadas – were all stabbed to death in their home.

  7. Thank you, dear Simon Naim, for speaking Truth before the power of the Israel Lobby !

    Amnesty & Ms Garwood have again spoken out for the People in Gaza.

  8. Judonimh,
    what do you expect from an exhausted and paralyzed society? What do you expect from a people who have been living the occupation situation for four decades? What should we expect from a piece of land that is more from the international community that the Palestinian people themselves and international community is totally unable to accelerate the peace process? What do you expect from a town whose streets are occupied by the arrogance demonstrations of the Israeli army, as obvious as their arbitrary detentions? The long years of occupation have left deep wounds on Palestinian consciousness, as humiliation, poverty, dispossession and isolation.
    Too much suffering and despair, would infuse hatred and disease to any human being. The pain may end up exploding in its most violent form.

  9. Thank you Amnesty for completely ignoring that last Friday, Itamar’s Fogel family – father Udi, 37, mother Ruth, 36, 10-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad, and three-month-old Hadas – were all stabbed to death in their home.

  10. Judonimh,
    what do you expect from an exhausted and paralyzed society? What do you expect from a people who have been living the occupation situation for four decades? What should we expect from a piece of land that is more from the international community that the Palestinian people themselves and international community is totally unable to accelerate the peace process? What do you expect from a town whose streets are occupied by the arrogance demonstrations of the Israeli army, as obvious as their arbitrary detentions? The long years of occupation have left deep wounds on Palestinian consciousness, as humiliation, poverty, dispossession and isolation.
    Too much suffering and despair, would infuse hatred and disease to any human being. The pain may end up exploding in its most violent form.

  11. Simón Naïm:

    Only a evil monster would justify in any way the murder of the Jewish family last week, the breaking into a family home and stabbing a 3 month old baby to death only because the baby was a Jew.

    There is no explanation, no reasoning, no justification for stabbing a baby 50 times while she sleeps in her cradle.

    By writing so approvingly and understandingly of this crime against the entire human race, here on Amnesty's blog of all places, you show yourself to be hater of peace and a hater of all humanity, and a lover of death, a lover of baby murder, a lover of Hitler and a lover of the Satan.

    Please go crawl back under the rock from whence you were born.

  12. Simón Naïm:

    Only a evil monster would justify in any way the murder of the Jewish family last week, the breaking into a family home and stabbing a 3 month old baby to death only because the baby was a Jew.

    There is no explanation, no reasoning, no justification for stabbing a baby 50 times while she sleeps in her cradle.

    By writing so approvingly and understandingly of this crime against the entire human race, here on Amnesty’s blog of all places, you show yourself to be hater of peace and a hater of all humanity, and a lover of death, a lover of baby murder, a lover of Hitler and a lover of the Satan.

    Please go crawl back under the rock from whence you were born.

  13. Dear Judonimh,
    I would appreciate very much, if you would set out your views and opinions without having to be constantly referring to my person, the free exchange of views does not require judgments or misunderstandings.
    Self-defense or justification is a waste of time and energy that I am not willing to spend with anyone. I'm just trying to explain my criterion and not sell them as you do.
    I do not write to Amnesty International to hold dialogues or monologues like yours, I am here to denounce injustices like everyone else. But I will not fall into the trap of insult and manipulation.
    This evil Nazi monster that I am, considers the unfortunate Jewish family murder as a real and dramatic crime that should be judged accordingly.
    Of course, there is no justification, no form of violence is justified. But everybody knows that in an endless conflict between two peoples, where thousands of men, women and children have been killed; hatred, violence and madness can explode at any time in any form.
    you should feel lucky that you've received a reply, because I still believe that not only You don't know how to read others but you are really part of the traumatic process that involves the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
    One who uses the irrational and indiscriminate insult, deserves no consideration.
    I hope that your obsession with defending Israel also does not end in a tragic crime to someone….and please leave sometimes the rock from whence you were born.
    I wish you good luck in your fight for the Jewish cause. in which I have been so many times. and in spite of you, I hope to be more often if necessary.

  14. Dear Simon Naim,

    Once more, truly, & truly beautifully, spoken !!

    You have shown your heart's understanding of the dehumanizing state under which Palestinians survive …..

    & for this you are called, among other wonderful things, "a hater of all humanity" & " a lover of the [sic] Satan."

    What i love is the formidable & yet so gentle dignity with which you have answered….

    & i especially appreciate that you extend your consideration to Judonimh, seeing him also as "really part of the traumatic process" of this conflict.

    i note with interest that while he speaks of Palestinians as "Arabs" whenever it suits his purpose, he refers to israelis as "Jews" whenever he can….like, in the above text, it's "the Jewish family" & "the baby was a Jew".

    This omnipresent Zionist identification erases indigenous identity while espousing "the" Jews & "the" Jews alone as THE people ( the one & only ) for whom israel is the state. Millions of nonJews are israeli citizens, but israel is not theirs.They're secondclass citizens, & not even a close second.

    At the same time, i don't agree with Amnesty's denunciation of both sides in israel's Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.

    Only one side's the aggressor here, only one the defender.

    Only one the true, the overwhelming perpetrator of war crimes.

    Only one the user of fleshdevouring phosphorus.

    Only one the deliberate & accurate targetter & demolisher of schools & homes.

    Only one left with THOUSANDS of homeless, wounded & maimed, surviving amidst the rubble …. with no repairing of, nor rescuing from, their damages.

    i uphold the Palestinians' Right to protect their homes & families, with arms ( is there any other way, in war ? ).

    i identify with them.

    As for the creatures, the myriad beings, who live under rocks & crawl out in & out from them, i identify with them above all.

    1400 Palstinians killed, if i remember aright.

  15. source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cheir-an
    Turkey's Leading English Daily

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    BURAK BEKDİL

    It was 2010, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking, as tempered as always, to a crowd as tempered as the prime minister could be.

    “These [people] even see babies in their cradles as a threat. They have killed babies in their mothers’ arms,” he boomed.

    “These people,” naturally, were the Israelis.

    Addressing Israel’s leaders from a public rally in Turkey, Mr. Erdoğan said in both Turkish and English: “You shall not kill.” Then he showed his linguistic capabilities and went on: “You still don’t get it? Then I shall speak to you in your own language: Lo tir’tsach!” He was referring to the sixth of the 10 commandments in the Old Testament.

    In various other speeches, Mr. Erdoğan claimed that his fits of anger toward the death of children were “indiscriminative” of race and religion. “Wherever, whenever,” he often said, “a child has been killed,” he would fiercely stand against the murderers. All the same, he has been mute since Saturday.

    In the early hours of Saturday, a Palestinian broke into a house in the settlement of Itamar and stabbed to death a couple and their three children, aged 3 months, 4 years and 10 years old. The slain bodies were discovered by the couple’s 12-year-old daughter who was not at home when the murder was committed.

    The “Imad Mughniyeh” cell, with alleged links to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group is named after the “phantom” terrorist Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus which Hezbollah blamed on Israeli agents. Mr. Mughniyeh, or the “Shia bin-Laden,” was one of the world’s most wanted men (wanted in 42 countries) while he was enjoying a safe haven in the Syrian capital prior to his assassination.

    Most predictably, we have not heard Mr. Erdoğan saying "You shall not kill" in Arabic, and we probably never will. That’s hardly surprising since we have never heard Mr. Erdoğan speaking “indiscriminately” in the past against the killing of children and defenseless people in Itamar, or elsewhere in Israel – for Saturday’s attack in Itamar was not the first of its kind. In May 2002, a Palestinian killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded another teenager in the same settlement. A month later, another Palestinian killed a woman and her three children. In July the same year another Palestinian stabbed and wounded a couple. And in August 2004, a Palestinian killed a resident of Itamar.

    The killing of a 3-month old baby reminded me, inevitably, of what a “Palestinian warrior” told me in Ramallah in 2006. When he praised his suicide bomber sister who had injured a 95-year-old woman (and killed herself) in an attack, I asked him what was the point of injuring or killing elderly women or toddlers when young Palestinians also died in these attacks. He smiled and explained as simply as he could: “For us, even a 1-year-old Israeli baby is a soldier. And that [95-year-old] woman was also an Israeli soldier!” I thought it might not be safe to ask him any further questions.

    But in 2008, this time in London and speaking to another Palestinian, I felt more comfortable and dared question the logic of the act that “indiscriminately angers our prime minister.” I reminded him of a verse in the Quran (4:93): “Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”

    My Palestinian friend counter-attacked with another verse (17:33): “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right.” Then came his loud and tempered explanation: “The verse 4:93 forbids killing a believer. Israelis are not believers.” I looked out from the window of the pub where his orange juice vs. my wine stood on the table like two objects silently telling us why we could never agree.

    For a moment, I thought about reminding him that Jews, too, are believers, like other non-Muslim believers, or ask him if the Quran (in verse 4:93) permitted the killing of atheists. But he loudly went back to verse 17:33, with radiating eyes satisfied with the near victory in our little intellectual duel. “You see, that verse forbids killing ‘except by right.’ And it is evident that some killings fall into the category of ‘exception by right.’”

    …..

    I am still curious, however, about what rank the 3-month old Israeli “soldier” held. Captain? Lieutenant colonel? Certainly too young to be a general.

  16. source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cheir-an
    Turkey's Leading English Daily

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    BURAK BEKDİL

    It was 2010, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking, as tempered as always, to a crowd as tempered as the prime minister could be.

    “These [people] even see babies in their cradles as a threat. They have killed babies in their mothers’ arms,” he boomed.

    “These people,” naturally, were the Israelis.

    Addressing Israel’s leaders from a public rally in Turkey, Mr. Erdoğan said in both Turkish and English: “You shall not kill.” Then he showed his linguistic capabilities and went on: “You still don’t get it? Then I shall speak to you in your own language: Lo tir’tsach!” He was referring to the sixth of the 10 commandments in the Old Testament.

    In various other speeches, Mr. Erdoğan claimed that his fits of anger toward the death of children were “indiscriminative” of race and religion. “Wherever, whenever,” he often said, “a child has been killed,” he would fiercely stand against the murderers. All the same, he has been mute since Saturday.

    In the early hours of Saturday, a Palestinian broke into a house in the settlement of Itamar and stabbed to death a couple and their three children, aged 3 months, 4 years and 10 years old. The slain bodies were discovered by the couple’s 12-year-old daughter who was not at home when the murder was committed.

    The “Imad Mughniyeh” cell, with alleged links to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group is named after the “phantom” terrorist Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus which Hezbollah blamed on Israeli agents. Mr. Mughniyeh, or the “Shia bin-Laden,” was one of the world’s most wanted men (wanted in 42 countries) while he was enjoying a safe haven in the Syrian capital prior to his assassination.

    Most predictably, we have not heard Mr. Erdoğan saying "You shall not kill" in Arabic, and we probably never will. That’s hardly surprising since we have never heard Mr. Erdoğan speaking “indiscriminately” in the past against the killing of children and defenseless people in Itamar, or elsewhere in Israel – for Saturday’s attack in Itamar was not the first of its kind. In May 2002, a Palestinian killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded another teenager in the same settlement. A month later, another Palestinian killed a woman and her three children. In July the same year another Palestinian stabbed and wounded a couple. And in August 2004, a Palestinian killed a resident of Itamar.

    The killing of a 3-month old baby reminded me, inevitably, of what a “Palestinian warrior” told me in Ramallah in 2006. When he praised his suicide bomber sister who had injured a 95-year-old woman (and killed herself) in an attack, I asked him what was the point of injuring or killing elderly women or toddlers when young Palestinians also died in these attacks. He smiled and explained as simply as he could: “For us, even a 1-year-old Israeli baby is a soldier. And that [95-year-old] woman was also an Israeli soldier!” I thought it might not be safe to ask him any further questions.

    But in 2008, this time in London and speaking to another Palestinian, I felt more comfortable and dared question the logic of the act that “indiscriminately angers our prime minister.” I reminded him of a verse in the Quran (4:93): “Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”

    My Palestinian friend counter-attacked with another verse (17:33): “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right.” Then came his loud and tempered explanation: “The verse 4:93 forbids killing a believer. Israelis are not believers.” I looked out from the window of the pub where his orange juice vs. my wine stood on the table like two objects silently telling us why we could never agree.

    For a moment, I thought about reminding him that Jews, too, are believers, like other non-Muslim believers, or ask him if the Quran (in verse 4:93) permitted the killing of atheists. But he loudly went back to verse 17:33, with radiating eyes satisfied with the near victory in our little intellectual duel. “You see, that verse forbids killing ‘except by right.’ And it is evident that some killings fall into the category of ‘exception by right.’”

    …..

    I am still curious, however, about what rank the 3-month old Israeli “soldier” held. Captain? Lieutenant colonel? Certainly too young to be a general.

  17. source: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cheir-an
    Turkey's Leading English Daily

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    BURAK BEKDİL

    It was 2010, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking, as tempered as always, to a crowd as tempered as the prime minister could be.

    “These [people] even see babies in their cradles as a threat. They have killed babies in their mothers’ arms,” he boomed.

    “These people,” naturally, were the Israelis.

    Addressing Israel’s leaders from a public rally in Turkey, Mr. Erdoğan said in both Turkish and English: “You shall not kill.” Then he showed his linguistic capabilities and went on: “You still don’t get it? Then I shall speak to you in your own language: Lo tir’tsach!” He was referring to the sixth of the 10 commandments in the Old Testament.

    In various other speeches, Mr. Erdoğan claimed that his fits of anger toward the death of children were “indiscriminative” of race and religion. “Wherever, whenever,” he often said, “a child has been killed,” he would fiercely stand against the murderers. All the same, he has been mute since Saturday.

    In the early hours of Saturday, a Palestinian broke into a house in the settlement of Itamar and stabbed to death a couple and their three children, aged 3 months, 4 years and 10 years old. The slain bodies were discovered by the couple’s 12-year-old daughter who was not at home when the murder was committed.

    The “Imad Mughniyeh” cell, with alleged links to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group is named after the “phantom” terrorist Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus which Hezbollah blamed on Israeli agents. Mr. Mughniyeh, or the “Shia bin-Laden,” was one of the world’s most wanted men (wanted in 42 countries) while he was enjoying a safe haven in the Syrian capital prior to his assassination.

    Most predictably, we have not heard Mr. Erdoğan saying "You shall not kill" in Arabic, and we probably never will. That’s hardly surprising since we have never heard Mr. Erdoğan speaking “indiscriminately” in the past against the killing of children and defenseless people in Itamar, or elsewhere in Israel – for Saturday’s attack in Itamar was not the first of its kind. In May 2002, a Palestinian killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded another teenager in the same settlement. A month later, another Palestinian killed a woman and her three children. In July the same year another Palestinian stabbed and wounded a couple. And in August 2004, a Palestinian killed a resident of Itamar.

    The killing of a 3-month old baby reminded me, inevitably, of what a “Palestinian warrior” told me in Ramallah in 2006. When he praised his suicide bomber sister who had injured a 95-year-old woman (and killed herself) in an attack, I asked him what was the point of injuring or killing elderly women or toddlers when young Palestinians also died in these attacks. He smiled and explained as simply as he could: “For us, even a 1-year-old Israeli baby is a soldier. And that [95-year-old] woman was also an Israeli soldier!” I thought it might not be safe to ask him any further questions.

    But in 2008, this time in London and speaking to another Palestinian, I felt more comfortable and dared question the logic of the act that “indiscriminately angers our prime minister.” I reminded him of a verse in the Quran (4:93): “Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”

    My Palestinian friend counter-attacked with another verse (17:33): “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right.” Then came his loud and tempered explanation: “The verse 4:93 forbids killing a believer. Israelis are not believers.” I looked out from the window of the pub where his orange juice vs. my wine stood on the table like two objects silently telling us why we could never agree.

    For a moment, I thought about reminding him that Jews, too, are believers, like other non-Muslim believers, or ask him if the Quran (in verse 4:93) permitted the killing of atheists. But he loudly went back to verse 17:33, with radiating eyes satisfied with the near victory in our little intellectual duel. “You see, that verse forbids killing ‘except by right.’ And it is evident that some killings fall into the category of ‘exception by right.’”

    …..

    I am still curious, however, about what rank the 3-month old Israeli “soldier” held. Captain? Lieutenant colonel? Certainly too young to be a general.

  18. Dear Judonimh,
    I would appreciate very much, if you would set out your views and opinions without having to be constantly referring to my person, the free exchange of views does not require judgments or misunderstandings.
    Self-defense or justification is a waste of time and energy that I am not willing to spend with anyone. I’m just trying to explain my criterion and not sell them as you do.
    I do not write to Amnesty International to hold dialogues or monologues like yours, I am here to denounce injustices like everyone else. But I will not fall into the trap of insult and manipulation.
    This evil Nazi monster that I am, considers the unfortunate Jewish family murder as a real and dramatic crime that should be judged accordingly.
    Of course, there is no justification, no form of violence is justified. But everybody knows that in an endless conflict between two peoples, where thousands of men, women and children have been killed; hatred, violence and madness can explode at any time in any form.
    you should feel lucky that you’ve received a reply, because I still believe that not only You don’t know how to read others but you are really part of the traumatic process that involves the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
    One who uses the irrational and indiscriminate insult, deserves no consideration.
    I hope that your obsession with defending Israel also does not end in a tragic crime to someone….and please leave sometimes the rock from whence you were born.
    I wish you good luck in your fight for the Jewish cause. in which I have been so many times. and in spite of you, I hope to be more often if necessary.

  19. Dear Simon Naim,

    Once more, truly, & truly beautifully, spoken !!

    You have shown your heart’s understanding of the dehumanizing state under which Palestinians survive …..

    & for this you are called, among other wonderful things, “a hater of all humanity” & ” a lover of the [sic] Satan.”

    What i love is the formidable & yet so gentle dignity with which you have answered….

    & i especially appreciate that you extend your consideration to Judonimh, seeing him also as “really part of the traumatic process” of this conflict.

    i note with interest that while he speaks of Palestinians as “Arabs” whenever it suits his purpose, he refers to israelis as “Jews” whenever he can….like, in the above text, it’s “the Jewish family” & “the baby was a Jew”.

    This omnipresent Zionist identification erases indigenous identity while espousing “the” Jews & “the” Jews alone as THE people ( the one & only ) for whom israel is the state. Millions of nonJews are israeli citizens, but israel is not theirs.They’re secondclass citizens, & not even a close second.

    At the same time, i don’t agree with Amnesty’s denunciation of both sides in israel’s Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.

    Only one side’s the aggressor here, only one the defender.

    Only one the true, the overwhelming perpetrator of war crimes.

    Only one the user of fleshdevouring phosphorus.

    Only one the deliberate & accurate targetter & demolisher of schools & homes.

    Only one left with THOUSANDS of homeless, wounded & maimed, surviving amidst the rubble …. with no repairing of, nor rescuing from, their damages.

    i uphold the Palestinians’ Right to protect their homes & families, with arms ( is there any other way, in war ? ).

    i identify with them.

    As for the creatures, the myriad beings, who live under rocks & crawl out in & out from them, i identify with them above all.

    1400 Palstinians killed, if i remember aright.

  20. @Judo Nimh – It is simply not true that Amnesty ‘completely’ ignored the horrific killing of the Fogel family last week. Amnesty issued the following statement, ‘Spike in West Bank Violence Condemned’ which can be found at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE0…. The statement clearly states, “We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    You also state as fact that it was 'a Palestinian' that broke into the home and committed the crime, but I would caution you on assigning blame. As of this writing, the investigation is still being conducted and several possible scenarios are being explored. We are all angry when a crime like this is committed, but we must be careful to not incite even more violence with presumptions which may prove erroneous.

    @A. Savage – You said that you disagreed with, “…with Amnesty's denunciation of both sides in Israel's Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.”, but being a smaller force does not justify targeting civilians or violating other ‘rules of war’. Also, Amnesty does not base it’s positions on the political agenda of a party or their strength and size, but on international law.

    We do not take political sides, judge ‘intent’ on any party or denounce actions based on so-called ‘morals’ which are subjective. These kinds of statements and judgments are left to others – such as yourself.

    In other words, Amnesty does not take a stance on whether or not hostilities should be happening, but HOW it is conducted.

    Amnesty’s role comes in when hostilities begin and are concerned in HOW hostilities are conducted. All parties involved, whether on offense or defense, have to abide by certain standards which are often referred to as ‘rules of war’. These ‘rules of war’ are not highly restrictive, but are very basic and were formulated to protect the innocents – such as civilians not participating in hostilities or medics trying to tend to the wounded.

    After well documented research by our team, it was found that Israeli forces violated several standards – committing war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. It was also found that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, targeted civilians with indiscriminate weapons – also a war crime. We would not measure which is worse than the other – ALL violations must end by ALL parties – regardless of the role they play in the hostilities.

  21. source:
    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=cheir-anaka-la-taktol-2011-03-15
    Turkey’s Leading English Daily

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011
    BURAK BEKDİL

    It was 2010, and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was speaking, as tempered as always, to a crowd as tempered as the prime minister could be.

    “These [people] even see babies in their cradles as a threat. They have killed babies in their mothers’ arms,” he boomed.

    “These people,” naturally, were the Israelis.

    Addressing Israel’s leaders from a public rally in Turkey, Mr. Erdoğan said in both Turkish and English: “You shall not kill.” Then he showed his linguistic capabilities and went on: “You still don’t get it? Then I shall speak to you in your own language: Lo tir’tsach!” He was referring to the sixth of the 10 commandments in the Old Testament.

    In various other speeches, Mr. Erdoğan claimed that his fits of anger toward the death of children were “indiscriminative” of race and religion. “Wherever, whenever,” he often said, “a child has been killed,” he would fiercely stand against the murderers. All the same, he has been mute since Saturday.

    In the early hours of Saturday, a Palestinian broke into a house in the settlement of Itamar and stabbed to death a couple and their three children, aged 3 months, 4 years and 10 years old. The slain bodies were discovered by the couple’s 12-year-old daughter who was not at home when the murder was committed.

    The “Imad Mughniyeh” cell, with alleged links to the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, claimed responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group is named after the “phantom” terrorist Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus which Hezbollah blamed on Israeli agents. Mr. Mughniyeh, or the “Shia bin-Laden,” was one of the world’s most wanted men (wanted in 42 countries) while he was enjoying a safe haven in the Syrian capital prior to his assassination.

    Most predictably, we have not heard Mr. Erdoğan saying “You shall not kill” in Arabic, and we probably never will. That’s hardly surprising since we have never heard Mr. Erdoğan speaking “indiscriminately” in the past against the killing of children and defenseless people in Itamar, or elsewhere in Israel – for Saturday’s attack in Itamar was not the first of its kind. In May 2002, a Palestinian killed a 14-year-old boy and wounded another teenager in the same settlement. A month later, another Palestinian killed a woman and her three children. In July the same year another Palestinian stabbed and wounded a couple. And in August 2004, a Palestinian killed a resident of Itamar.

    The killing of a 3-month old baby reminded me, inevitably, of what a “Palestinian warrior” told me in Ramallah in 2006. When he praised his suicide bomber sister who had injured a 95-year-old woman (and killed herself) in an attack, I asked him what was the point of injuring or killing elderly women or toddlers when young Palestinians also died in these attacks. He smiled and explained as simply as he could: “For us, even a 1-year-old Israeli baby is a soldier. And that [95-year-old] woman was also an Israeli soldier!” I thought it might not be safe to ask him any further questions.

    But in 2008, this time in London and speaking to another Palestinian, I felt more comfortable and dared question the logic of the act that “indiscriminately angers our prime minister.” I reminded him of a verse in the Quran (4:93): “Whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell wherein he will abide eternally, and Allah has become angry with him and has cursed him and has prepared for him a great punishment.”

    My Palestinian friend counter-attacked with another verse (17:33): “And do not kill the soul which Allah has forbidden, except by right.” Then came his loud and tempered explanation: “The verse 4:93 forbids killing a believer. Israelis are not believers.” I looked out from the window of the pub where his orange juice vs. my wine stood on the table like two objects silently telling us why we could never agree.

    For a moment, I thought about reminding him that Jews, too, are believers, like other non-Muslim believers, or ask him if the Quran (in verse 4:93) permitted the killing of atheists. But he loudly went back to verse 17:33, with radiating eyes satisfied with the near victory in our little intellectual duel. “You see, that verse forbids killing ‘except by right.’ And it is evident that some killings fall into the category of ‘exception by right.’”

    …..

    I am still curious, however, about what rank the 3-month old Israeli “soldier” held. Captain? Lieutenant colonel? Certainly too young to be a general.

  22. @Judo Nimh – It is simply not true that Amnesty ‘completely’ ignored the horrific killing of the Fogel family last week. Amnesty issued the following statement, ‘Spike in West Bank Violence Condemned’ which can be found at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE0…. The statement clearly states, “We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    You also state as fact that it was 'a Palestinian' that broke into the home and committed the crime, but I would caution you on assigning blame. As of this writing, the investigation is still being conducted and several possible scenarios are being explored. We are all angry when a crime like this is committed, but we must be careful to not incite even more violence with presumptions which may prove erroneous.

    @A. Savage – You said that you disagreed with, “…with Amnesty's denunciation of both sides in Israel's Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.”, but being a smaller force does not justify targeting civilians or violating other ‘rules of war’. Also, Amnesty does not base it’s positions on the political agenda of a party or their strength and size, but on international law.

    We do not take political sides, judge ‘intent’ on any party or denounce actions based on so-called ‘morals’ which are subjective. These kinds of statements and judgments are left to others – such as yourself.

    In other words, Amnesty does not take a stance on whether or not hostilities should be happening, but HOW it is conducted.

    Amnesty’s role comes in when hostilities begin and are concerned in HOW hostilities are conducted. All parties involved, whether on offense or defense, have to abide by certain standards which are often referred to as ‘rules of war’. These ‘rules of war’ are not highly restrictive, but are very basic and were formulated to protect the innocents – such as civilians not participating in hostilities or medics trying to tend to the wounded.

    After well documented research by our team, it was found that Israeli forces violated several standards – committing war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. It was also found that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, targeted civilians with indiscriminate weapons – also a war crime. We would not measure which is worse than the other – ALL violations must end by ALL parties – regardless of the role they play in the hostilities.

  23. @Judo Nimh – It is simply not true that Amnesty ‘completely’ ignored the horrific killing of the Fogel family last week. Amnesty issued the following statement, ‘Spike in West Bank Violence Condemned’ which can be found at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE0…. The statement clearly states, “We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    You also state as fact that it was 'a Palestinian' that broke into the home and committed the crime, but I would caution you on assigning blame. As of this writing, the investigation is still being conducted and several possible scenarios are being explored. We are all angry when a crime like this is committed, but we must be careful to not incite even more violence with presumptions which may prove erroneous.

    @A. Savage – You said that you disagreed with, “…with Amnesty's denunciation of both sides in Israel's Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.”, but being a smaller force does not justify targeting civilians or violating other ‘rules of war’. Also, Amnesty does not base it’s positions on the political agenda of a party or their strength and size, but on international law.

    We do not take political sides, judge ‘intent’ on any party or denounce actions based on so-called ‘morals’ which are subjective. These kinds of statements and judgments are left to others – such as yourself.

    In other words, Amnesty does not take a stance on whether or not hostilities should be happening, but HOW it is conducted.

    Amnesty’s role comes in when hostilities begin and are concerned in HOW hostilities are conducted. All parties involved, whether on offense or defense, have to abide by certain standards which are often referred to as ‘rules of war’. These ‘rules of war’ are not highly restrictive, but are very basic and were formulated to protect the innocents – such as civilians not participating in hostilities or medics trying to tend to the wounded.

    After well documented research by our team, it was found that Israeli forces violated several standards – committing war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. It was also found that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, targeted civilians with indiscriminate weapons – also a war crime. We would not measure which is worse than the other – ALL violations must end by ALL parties – regardless of the role they play in the hostilities.

  24. Thanks dear A.Savage,
    my personal struggle is to be as cautious and objective as I can, in any kind of conflict. Especially when tragedy looms and lived, though in different ways on both sides.

  25. Edie:

    Most Palestinian organizations except for Hamas condemned the killings also assuming it was a Palestinian crime, and the Iranian state press covered the little baby and her family's murder as a "heroic military engagement" in which 5 "Zionist enemies" were successfully eliminated by "Palestinian commandos" who returned safely following their "mission".

  26. @Judo Nimh – It is simply not true that Amnesty ‘completely’ ignored the horrific killing of the Fogel family last week. Amnesty issued the following statement, ‘Spike in West Bank Violence Condemned’ which can be found at http://www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE011352011. The statement clearly states, “We utterly condemn the killing of the Fogel family in Itamar. There must be a prompt and effective investigation to identify those suspected of involvement and ensure that they are brought to justice in a fair trial.”

    You also state as fact that it was ‘a Palestinian’ that broke into the home and committed the crime, but I would caution you on assigning blame. As of this writing, the investigation is still being conducted and several possible scenarios are being explored. We are all angry when a crime like this is committed, but we must be careful to not incite even more violence with presumptions which may prove erroneous.

    @A. Savage – You said that you disagreed with, “…with Amnesty’s denunciation of both sides in Israel’s Gaza war for war crimes, as if the sides were morally, materially or militarily equal, on a flat, level field.”, but being a smaller force does not justify targeting civilians or violating other ‘rules of war’. Also, Amnesty does not base it’s positions on the political agenda of a party or their strength and size, but on international law.

    We do not take political sides, judge ‘intent’ on any party or denounce actions based on so-called ‘morals’ which are subjective. These kinds of statements and judgments are left to others – such as yourself.

    In other words, Amnesty does not take a stance on whether or not hostilities should be happening, but HOW it is conducted.

    Amnesty’s role comes in when hostilities begin and are concerned in HOW hostilities are conducted. All parties involved, whether on offense or defense, have to abide by certain standards which are often referred to as ‘rules of war’. These ‘rules of war’ are not highly restrictive, but are very basic and were formulated to protect the innocents – such as civilians not participating in hostilities or medics trying to tend to the wounded.

    After well documented research by our team, it was found that Israeli forces violated several standards – committing war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity. It was also found that armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, targeted civilians with indiscriminate weapons – also a war crime. We would not measure which is worse than the other – ALL violations must end by ALL parties – regardless of the role they play in the hostilities.

  27. Dear Judonimh,
    In war or in a conflict, truth is the first casualty. For the simple fact that the two sides are trying to defend its truth; as so rightly exposes Edith Garwood.
    Since you're a extremely documented person, ready to provide the most detailed information about your cause. I Would be unable to question your truth.
    However your mortified claim to defend the suffering and the attacks perpetrated against your people, there is an undeniable truth with more past than future.
    To find a solution to the conflict, It would be interesting that all acts of violence perpetrated by both sides were the first step towards a better future or a cause for reflection, not for mutual reproaches. The blame in a war state is completely useless, it is rather an aggravation.
    None will learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children or to separate and destroy families and friends.
    I wonder, who has the right to kill his brother? Could Israel bear the Shame of his own degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling in the case of winning this battle against the Palestinian people?
    A country can not endure for long years a state of war or occupation without fully sink in misery, and both, Israel and world know it.
    What Hamas must also understand for the good of all and his own people is that by to kill a man is not to defend a doctrine. Violence is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are included. It is a disease.
    At this historic moment where oppressed people from Islam are saying !that's enough!;, the international community should press Israel and also participate in this so difficult and desired peace's process in order to end unavailing grief and help to this desolated neighbor land.

  28. @Judo – But therein lies the problem – key word 'assume'. (re: '… also assuming it was a Palestinian crime…')

  29. Thanks dear A.Savage,
    my personal struggle is to be as cautious and objective as I can, in any kind of conflict. Especially when tragedy looms and lived, though in different ways on both sides.

  30. Edie:

    Most Palestinian organizations except for Hamas condemned the killings also assuming it was a Palestinian crime, and the Iranian state press covered the little baby and her family’s murder as a “heroic military engagement” in which 5 “Zionist enemies” were successfully eliminated by “Palestinian commandos” who returned safely following their “mission”.

  31. Dear Judonimh,
    In war or in a conflict, truth is the first casualty. For the simple fact that the two sides are trying to defend its truth; as so rightly exposes Edith Garwood.
    Since you’re a extremely documented person, ready to provide the most detailed information about your cause. I Would be unable to question your truth.
    However your mortified claim to defend the suffering and the attacks perpetrated against your people, there is an undeniable truth with more past than future.
    To find a solution to the conflict, It would be interesting that all acts of violence perpetrated by both sides were the first step towards a better future or a cause for reflection, not for mutual reproaches. The blame in a war state is completely useless, it is rather an aggravation.
    None will learn how to live together in peace by killing each other’s children or to separate and destroy families and friends.
    I wonder, who has the right to kill his brother? Could Israel bear the Shame of his own degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling in the case of winning this battle against the Palestinian people?
    A country can not endure for long years a state of war or occupation without fully sink in misery, and both, Israel and world know it.
    What Hamas must also understand for the good of all and his own people is that by to kill a man is not to defend a doctrine. Violence is nothing less than a temporary repeal of the principles of virtue. It is a system out of which almost all the virtues are excluded, and in which nearly all the vices are included. It is a disease.
    At this historic moment where oppressed people from Islam are saying !that’s enough!;, the international community should press Israel and also participate in this so difficult and desired peace’s process in order to end unavailing grief and help to this desolated neighbor land.

  32. @Judo – But therein lies the problem – key word ‘assume’. (re: ‘… also assuming it was a Palestinian crime…’)

  33. Simón Naïm:
    you wrote "winning this battle against the Palestinian people"

    Israel has no interest in winning any battles against the Palestinian People or anyone else. Israel would much prefer to live in peace and quiet with all her neighbors especially the Palestinians.

    The only battles Israel would prefer to be waging are battles in medical research to find cures for disease, battles in science and high tech and enviromental tech etc. to contribute to the general welfare of the world, battles to defeat poverty and ignorance,

    It is these battles Israel wants to wage, the battle to win the peace.

    Unfortunately many in the Arab and Muslim world still do not accept that Israel has any right to exist as a democratic Jewish homeland with full minority rights on a small plot of land equivalent in size to only a small fraction of one single percent of the land area of the neighboring Arab countries.

    But never the less I still believe that one day there will be peace, I really really do.

  34. Simón Naïm:
    you wrote “winning this battle against the Palestinian people”

    Israel has no interest in winning any battles against the Palestinian People or anyone else. Israel would much prefer to live in peace and quiet with all her neighbors especially the Palestinians.

    The only battles Israel would prefer to be waging are battles in medical research to find cures for disease, battles in science and high tech and enviromental tech etc. to contribute to the general welfare of the world, battles to defeat poverty and ignorance,

    It is these battles Israel wants to wage, the battle to win the peace.

    Unfortunately many in the Arab and Muslim world still do not accept that Israel has any right to exist as a democratic Jewish homeland with full minority rights on a small plot of land equivalent in size to only a small fraction of one single percent of the land area of the neighboring Arab countries.

    But never the less I still believe that one day there will be peace, I really really do.

  35. Hey look, Amnesty.
    More ongoing war crimes on Israeli civilians just this morning.

    March 19th, 2011
    Dozens of mortar shells hit southern Israel

    Hamas military wing claims responsibility for more than 50 mortar shells fired at western Negev civilian communities from the Gaza Strip in several barrages Saturday morning, March 19th, 2011. Two people were injured by shrapnel in one of the kibbutzim and were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Buildings sustained heavy damage. Local residents were ordered to enter shelters. Loud blasts were reported in the area.

    The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, claimed responsibility for the mortar fire. The group issued a statement claiming that the mortars were supposedly directed at Israeli military targets. Never the less, all the mortar fire actually landed on civilian neighborhoods.

    Ariel, a resident of one of the kibbutzim in the Eshkol Regional Council, said: "We began hearing explosions at around 8:45 am. My daughter, who lives in a nearby community, called me crying and said she had heard strong blasts approaching her. We received emergency text messages from the council to remain in a fortified area. "After the series of explosions I didn't hear any additional barrages. These explosions are not normal. There has been a relative calm for quite a while now. We haven't experienced such a thing in these hours, on Saturday morning, for a long time."

    Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin said the protected spaces and fortified rooms in each home that the council has been constructing for residents over the past several years proved themselves. "They really save lives. What happened here this morning is something which we unfortunately call an emergency routine.

    Drorit, whose home was hit in the attack, said she was playing a computer game when the first mortar shell landed near her house. "I immediately ran to my elderly neighbor. We were running into the sheltered space when the second mortar landed. It hit the fortified room." She said she was not afraid. "We are used to such incidents. It's become a routine."

    Dafna, who lives in the community hit by most of the mortars, recounted the attack: "We were having breakfast and heard explosions, one after the other. I ran into the sheltered room with my six-year-old son. I waited to be able to come out and then checked the damage. "My eldest son's house was hit, but luckily he left the kibbutz. This isn't a new situation, but we got a serious reminder today. We live in constant fear but try to cope."

    215 mortars shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel in the year 2010, in addition to 150 Qassam rockets.

  36. Hey look, Amnesty.
    More ongoing war crimes on Israeli civilians just this morning.

    March 19th, 2011
    Dozens of mortar shells hit southern Israel

    Hamas military wing claims responsibility for more than 50 mortar shells fired at western Negev civilian communities from the Gaza Strip in several barrages Saturday morning, March 19th, 2011. Two people were injured by shrapnel in one of the kibbutzim and were evacuated to the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba. Buildings sustained heavy damage. Local residents were ordered to enter shelters. Loud blasts were reported in the area.

    The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing, claimed responsibility for the mortar fire. The group issued a statement claiming that the mortars were supposedly directed at Israeli military targets. Never the less, all the mortar fire actually landed on civilian neighborhoods.

    Ariel, a resident of one of the kibbutzim in the Eshkol Regional Council, said: “We began hearing explosions at around 8:45 am. My daughter, who lives in a nearby community, called me crying and said she had heard strong blasts approaching her. We received emergency text messages from the council to remain in a fortified area. “After the series of explosions I didn’t hear any additional barrages. These explosions are not normal. There has been a relative calm for quite a while now. We haven’t experienced such a thing in these hours, on Saturday morning, for a long time.”

    Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yalin said the protected spaces and fortified rooms in each home that the council has been constructing for residents over the past several years proved themselves. “They really save lives. What happened here this morning is something which we unfortunately call an emergency routine.

    Drorit, whose home was hit in the attack, said she was playing a computer game when the first mortar shell landed near her house. “I immediately ran to my elderly neighbor. We were running into the sheltered space when the second mortar landed. It hit the fortified room.” She said she was not afraid. “We are used to such incidents. It’s become a routine.”

    Dafna, who lives in the community hit by most of the mortars, recounted the attack: “We were having breakfast and heard explosions, one after the other. I ran into the sheltered room with my six-year-old son. I waited to be able to come out and then checked the damage. “My eldest son’s house was hit, but luckily he left the kibbutz. This isn’t a new situation, but we got a serious reminder today. We live in constant fear but try to cope.”

    215 mortars shells were fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel in the year 2010, in addition to 150 Qassam rockets.

  37. Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

    By Richard Goldstone, Friday, April 2, Washington Post

    We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

    The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

    Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

    The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

    For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.

    While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum. Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

    Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).

    As I indicated from the very beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s cooperation. The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.

    Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

    Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

    In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.

    I continue to believe in the cause of establishing and applying international law to protracted and deadly conflicts. Our report has led to numerous “lessons learned” and policy changes, including the adoption of new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas. The Palestinian Authority established an independent inquiry into our allegations of human rights abuses — assassinations, torture and illegal detentions — perpetrated by Fatah in the West Bank, especially against members of Hamas. Most of those allegations were confirmed by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

    Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

    The writer, Richard Goldstone, is a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.

  38. Judonihm,
    The report is talking about issues and events really interesting that should be
    taken into account by world opinion, referring to the brutal violence plaguing Gaza for years.
    The report talks about the crimes committed and the legitimate desire for justice they deserve and is expressing clearly the Israel position about continual threats of Hamás. And more of the same. But have not mentioned at no time, the greatest World wish; get to the heart of the matter of the more important fact, Peace, the only word that can achieve an end to this conflict: Peace.
    It should be a signal, a small trace of wish and hope, and even however small, violence should be abandoned by both sides and establish peace once and for all.
    Peace starts in our minds.

  39. Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

    By Richard Goldstone, Friday, April 2, Washington Post

    We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

    The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

    Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

    The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

    For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.

    While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum. Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

    Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).

    As I indicated from the very beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s cooperation. The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.

    Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

    Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

    In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.

    I continue to believe in the cause of establishing and applying international law to protracted and deadly conflicts. Our report has led to numerous “lessons learned” and policy changes, including the adoption of new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas. The Palestinian Authority established an independent inquiry into our allegations of human rights abuses — assassinations, torture and illegal detentions — perpetrated by Fatah in the West Bank, especially against members of Hamas. Most of those allegations were confirmed by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

    Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

    The writer, Richard Goldstone, is a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.

  40. Judonihm,
    The report is talking about issues and events really interesting that should be
    taken into account by world opinion, referring to the brutal violence plaguing Gaza for years.
    The report talks about the crimes committed and the legitimate desire for justice they deserve and is expressing clearly the Israel position about continual threats of Hamás. And more of the same. But have not mentioned at no time, the greatest World wish; get to the heart of the matter of the more important fact, Peace, the only word that can achieve an end to this conflict: Peace.
    It should be a signal, a small trace of wish and hope, and even however small, violence should be abandoned by both sides and establish peace once and for all.
    Peace starts in our minds.