September 17, 2009
Israel Rejects Call for Gaza Inquiry
By ISABEL KERSHNER
JERUSALEM — Israeli officials on Wednesday bluntly dismissed one of the main recommendations of the United Nations fact-finding mission’s report on the three-week war in Gaza last winter: a call for the Israeli government to begin an independent investigation of “serious violations” of international humanitarian and human rights law, including evidence of war crimes, during the military campaign.
Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said that the internal military investigations into the Israeli army’s conduct in Gaza already under way were “a thousand times more serious” than the investigation just completed by the United Nations mission led by Richard Goldstone.
Mr. Goldstone, an internationally respected South African jurist, was once the lead war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.
Mr. Regev called the military justice system in Israel “highly professional” and said that Israeli civilian courts had judicial review over the military courts. “Let’s see what the military investigations produce,” he said.
Reflecting a broad consensus in Israel, the Israeli president, Shimon Peres, also harshly criticized the report, issuing a statement calling it “a mockery of history” for failing “to distinguish between the aggressor and a state exercising its right for self-defense.” Mr. Peres, an internationally respected Nobel Peace Prize laureate, added that the report “legitimizes terrorist activity, the pursuit of murder and death.”
The report, which was released on Tuesday, recommends that if no appropriate independent inquiry gets under way in Israel within six months, the United Nations Security Council should refer the situation to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It made a similar recommendation for Palestinian authorities, calling for an inquiry into evidence of war crimes committed by Palestinian armed groups firing rockets into Israel. The Palestinians have not commented on that aspect of the report.
The publication of the report elicited a furious reaction in Israel, where it was immediately rejected as one-sided and biased.
Asked about the recommendation of an independent inquiry, Yigal Palmor, the spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, said, “What would be independent enough for the Goldstone committee after they trashed all the legal, political and other authorities here and said that none were reliable?”
He added, “Just as their report was written as if in a vacuum, without any context, so this recommendation is disconnected from reality.”
In particular, Israeli government officials were incensed about what they called the report’s delicate treatment of Hamas, the Islamic group that controls Gaza. Israel mounted its military offensive as a last resort, they said, to try to curb the rocket fire from Gaza against southern Israel.
In a statement late Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry said the report “effectively ignores Israel’s right of self-defense, makes unsubstantiated claims about its intent and challenges Israel’s democratic values and rule of law.”
“At the same time,” it said, “the report all but ignores the deliberate strategy of Hamas of operating within and behind the civilian population and turning densely populated areas into an arena of battle. By turning a blind eye to such tactics, it effectively rewards them.” The report addressed the Israeli allegations, but said it found limited evidence that Palestinian fighters had deliberately pursued a strategy of using civilians as human shields.
Most Israelis strongly supported the military offensive in Gaza, viewing it as the only way to stop the rocket fire. The growing international condemnation of Israel’s actions during the military campaign did little to crack national unity during the war, and the highly critical reports in the months since by international organizations and human rights groups have not caused serious divisions. The more usual response here has been indignation, and a sense that Israel’s very legitimacy has been under attack.
Amid the furor, some in Israel concurred with the panel’s call for further investigation. A group of nine Israeli human rights organizations said in a joint statement that they had recently written to Israel’s attorney general to demand that he establish an independent body to investigate the military’s activities in Gaza, but that he rejected their request.
Boaz Okon, a legal affairs commentator in the popular newspaper Yediot Aharonot, suggested that it might be advisable for Israel to form an independent commission of inquiry into the army’s actions during the Gaza war. “Moral reasons require an examination of these severe allegations,” he wrote in Wednesday’s newspaper.
“In addition, there are utilitarian reasons. Even if decision-makers in Israel believe that no war crimes were committed, the findings of an independent commission of inquiry could serve as defense in international law, and prevent the prosecution of soldiers and commanders abroad.”
Israel killed civilians with white flag, according to Human Rights WatchThe report found so many palestinian killed by the israel army where they are with white flags.
Israeli Massacre in Gaza
Israeli Massacre in Gaza
JUAN MIGUEL MUÑOZ Jerusalem 15/09/2009 15/09/2009 Published in ELPAIS.com in the section International
Israel never was welcome to Judge Richard Goldstone, let alone what will be the landmark report that was sent today to the Security Council of UN on the war that caused 1,400 deaths in Gaza, some 800 civilians, 235 policemen and about 300 militants -, razed thousands of homes, hundreds of factories, dozens of schools, hospitals and water tanks this past winter.
Crime of war in the palestinian territories United Nation dossier about "Humans Rigths in Palestinian and arabs territories": Official United Nations information:click here el contundente informe .
Here the article by "El Pais" in full english automatic translation:http://translate.google.com/translate?tl=en&sourceid=ie8-activity&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elpais.com%2Farticulo%2Finternacional%2FONU%2Fcondena%2Fcrimenes%2Fguerra%2Fperpetrados%2FGaza%2Felpepuint%2F20090915elpepuint_11%2FTes
The nearly 600-page report notes that Israel employed a "disproportionate force" and criticizes the "collective punishment" inflicted on the inhabitants of the strip. Si en la segunda guerra de Líbano murieron 10 libaneses por cada víctima israelí, en la contienda de Gaza fallecieron 100 palestinos por cada muerto israelí (10 soldados y tres civiles). If in the second war in Lebanon killed 10 Lebanese for every Israeli casualty in the battle of Gaza 100 Palestinians died for every Israeli killed (10 soldiers and three civilians). "Teniendo en cuenta la planificación que se llevó a cabo, el empleo de la mejor tecnología disponible y la declaración del Ejército israelí de que no se cometieron errores, la misión concluye que los patrones de conducta analizados son resultado de decisiones políticas deliberadas", reza el informe. "Given the planning that took place, the use of best available technology and the Israeli army statement that no mistakes were made, the mission concluded that the behavior patterns analyzed are the result of deliberate policy decisions," reads the report. "La operación militar", continúa, "se dirigió contra la población de Gaza en su totalidad, para fomentar una política continuada destinada a castigar a la población...". "The military operation," he continues, "was directed against the Gaza population as a whole, to promote an ongoing policy designed to punish the population ...".