Gaza

Goldstone reconsiders

In the Washington Post, Richard Goldstone writes:

We know a lot more 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.

Russia/Israel/Syria/Iran

  • Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak went to Russia on Sunday in a bid to halt an arms deal between Russia, Syria and Iran.
  • On Monday Ehud Barak signed an arms deal between Israel and Russia.
  • On Monday the IAEA complained that Iran is preventing some of its inspectors from monitoring Iran’s nuclear program.
  • On Tuesday the head of Iran’s nuclear program claimed that Iran has the right to bar some UN inspectors.
  • According to IDF sources, NGOs are planning to sail up to 20 ships to Gaza in coming months.

(jpost.com)

British court acquits factory saboteurs

In a disturbing development which has not been widely covered in U.K. media, a British judge and jury have acquitted a group of activists who broke into an arms factory near Brighton at the time of last year’s conflict in Gaza, smashing equipment and causing around £180,000 of damage.

The activists used the “lawful excuse” defense – committing an offense to prevent what they say was a more serious crime because EDO was “complicit in war crimes.”  (Jerusalem Post)

The court’s decision gives cause for concern, as it suggests that other anti-Israel actions of this kind may be similarly tolerated in future, and that persons and institutions perceived to be supporting Israel may not receive protection under British law.

Update (July 9): The JC reports that the judge in the trial said of the raiding group’s leader that “The jury may feel his efforts investigating the company merit the George Cross."

4th anniversary of Schalit capture

Jerusalem Post:

From Jerusalem, to Rome, to New York, supporters of captive soldier Gilad Schalit on Thursday cried out for his release as they marked the eve of the fourth anniversary of his kidnapping.

In Rome, the lights of the Colosseum were turned off. So too, the lights around the Old City walls in Jerusalem.

Lighting up the darkness at the walls was a sign showing the number of days, 1,460, that Schalit had been held by Hamas in Gaza, along with the line, “This is the time I have spent in captivity.”

In New York, a flotilla of ships, called “The True Freedom Flotilla,” sailed from Pier 40 around the Statue of Liberty and past the buildings of the United Nations.

Addressing a crowd in Rome, Gilad’s father, Noam, asked the international community not to forget his son.

“As I stand here tonight, in the capital of Italy, Rome, which is one of the central, ancient and important cities in Europe and the civilized world, I call on the international community and the European one in particular not to forget Gilad,” said Noam.

British blinkers

Julie Burchill, on the curious but predictable attitude of British media to the flotilla crisis:

Not once did I hear a British interviewer ask any of the so-called secular radicals participating in the flotilla why they are allied with Islamic supremacists who subjugate women, persecute gays, oppress non-Islamic minorities and seek to impose Islam globally.

Shalev: Lebanese ships will be stopped

Israel’s UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev has said in a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council that the attempt by flotilla organizers to sail from Lebanon to Gaza could escalate tensions and affect peace and security in the region, the Lebanese portal Naharnet reports. The ambassador also said that Israel would exercise its right under international law to “use all necessary means” to prevent the ships from breaking the naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.