Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Daily Goldstone 11/4

Richard Landes at Augean Stables takes a deeper look at the "36 incidents" that Richard Goldstone has alternatively characterized as "illustrative" and as to "appear to represent situations where there was little or no military justification for what happened." Those two characterizations are contradictory, to say the least.

What’s missing here, of course, is any investigation into the extensive evidence that Hamas used the civilian population as a shield, that they deliberately fired from the midst of civilian neighborhoods in order to provoke attacks, that they dressed as civilians, commandeered ambulances, stole food supplied by Israel to the Gazan population… in short that they did everything they could to maximize their own civilians’ casualties.

All these matters are, of course, critical to assessing the behavior of Israeli troops. And yet, Goldstone explicitly refused to look into this material....

We didn’t want to investigate situations where we would be called upon to second-guess decisions made by Israeli Defense Force leaders or soldiers, in what’s called the “fog of battle”. It’s really unfair to do that, especially without hearing the other side. So we tried to concentrate on issues which seem to be less likely to be justifiable by applying those standards.

In other words, we didn’t look specifically into incidents of Hamas using human shields, didn’t listen to witnesses who, taking that information into account, found the IDF took remarkable risks to avoid hitting civilians. Instead, they chose 36 incidents to investigate which “appear to represent situations where there was little or no military justification for what happened,” and nonethess, found Israel guilty of targeting civilians. ...

Indeed, the FFM, even as it only tangentially considered evidence of Hamas’ military strategy of human shields, consistently dismissed any evidence to the contrary. The trope “The Mission found no evidence… did not find any evidence… for illegitimate behavior by Hamas and other Palestinian combatants runs through the report like a scarlet thread...

If you seek not, how will you find?

Read the whole thing.