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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

My letter to the Gaza fact-finding mission

I just wrote this letter to the UN Gaza fact-finding mission. We will see if they respond.

Unfortunately, I didn't know about this method of submitting information to them until today, and their deadline was June 30th.


Dear Dr. Goldstone:

I read yesterday in Ma'an that the UN Gaza fact-finding mission listened to lengthy testimony from the PCHR while in Jordan, and was asked specific questions about the legal status of the policemen killed during Operation Cast Lead as well as the PCHR's methodologies.

I am a blogger who has been looking at the PCHR's claims since it released its list of people killed in Gaza. I have been maintaining a list of people whom the PCHR called "civilian" but who have actually been members of various militant organizations.

So far I and my team has identified some 306 people who were labeled civilians by the PCHR who were, in fact, members of militant groups.

The raw research, including links to prove the militant status for each person, can be found here.

What is particularly interesting is that so far we have identified that fully two-thirds of the policemen killed in Gaza - 189 of them - were also members of the Al Qassam Brigades. Most of these are confirmed from the al-Qassam website itself, and Hamas' "military wing" has continued to add names to its list of "martyrs" weekly.

The inescapable conclusion is that Hamas makes no distinction between the members of its police force and members of its terror cells. As Hamas makes no distinction, the IDF is not obligated to make any such distinction itself, and the entire uniformed police of Gaza can legally be considered a legitimate military target.

PCHR's methodology was inconsistent with its own definitions of "civilian" and it double-counted a few victims. Also interestingly, the PCHR's list of "militants" did not correspond to Al Mezan's list of "resistors" killed during Cast Lead.

By my count, using the PCHR list as a base, some 647 of the dead were legitimate targets, not counting victims who died as a result of secondary explosions (which I do not have the resources to confirm) nor those who were effectively used as human shields, such as the family of Nizar Rayyan who he effectively forced to stay and die with him.

All of my information is online and verifiable. I believe that it shows a much different story about civilian casualties than that given by the PCHR.

I hope that this information is of value to your fact finding mission.

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

"Elder of Ziyon"
http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com