The Day In Israel: Wed Sept 30th, 2009

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How bad is the Goldstone Report? Israeli human rights group B’tselem – no strangers to criticizing Israel – has attacked some of the report’s key findings.

The UN Human Rights Council and the Goldstone Report are either biased or mistaken in some of their fundamental accusations against Israel, according to B’tselem human rights group director Jessica Montell.

She said the council was wrong in its gravest accusations against Israel. These include the claim that Israel intentionally targeted the civilian population rather than Hamas, and the “weak, hesitant way that the report mentions Hamas’s strategy of using civilians [in combat].”

But, she added, Israel could have avoided such a report had it conducted “a thorough investigation” of Cast Lead itself, something which B’tselem continues to urge on Israel’s leaders.

“Israel has only itself to blame” for its failure to investigate the accusations of abuses during January’s Operation Cast Lead that led to the report, according to Montell.

“There’s no question that the HRC, which mandated the Goldstone [fact-finding mission into the Gaza fighting], has an inappropriate, disproportionate fixation with Israel,” she said.

She added that the council was “a political body made up of diplomats, not human rights experts, which means that the powerful states are never going to come under scrutiny the way the powerless will. So China, Russia and the US will never have commissions of inquiry, regardless of how their crimes rank relative to Israeli crimes.”

As has the frequently critical of Israel The Economist.

Even the international magazine The Economist, which has stridently criticized Israeli actions in the West Bank and Gaza in the past, said the report’s conclusions were unfairly critical of Israel.

“The report takes the very thing it is investigating as its central organizing premise,” the magazine opined just days after the mid-September publication of the report.

“Israeli policy in Gaza, it argues, was deliberately and systematically to inflict suffering on civilians, rather than Hamas fighters. Israel’s assertions that, in the difficult circumstances of densely populated Gaza, it planned its military operations carefully and with constant legal advice are taken by the report as evidence not of a concern to uphold international law but of a culpable determination to flout it,” the magazine said.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:58PM: Here is the statement by human rights scholar Anne Bayefsky on the Goldstone Report at the Human Rights Council yesterday (posted earlier, but removed after the video was made private).

8:34PM: The New York Knicks will be hosting Maccabi Tel Aviv in an exhibition game for the second time in three years. Proceeds from the game will benefit Migdal Ohr, the world’s largest orphanage.

Last time the two teams played almost two years ago, the result was so one-sided (112-85), Richard Goldstone was asked to investigate.

big game

8:08PM: Oh Jerusalem Post, get your freakin’ picture-caption thing-a-me-bob fixed already!

jpost blooper again

7:44PM: Yesterday, I posted about Dr. Mirella Sidrer, the Israeli woman severely injured by a Grad rocket who ripped Richard Goldstone for excluding her testimony from his final report .

You can view the aforementioned ripping here, and Goldstone’s response here.

5:16PM: Here’s a list of the 20 soon-to-be-released palestinian women prisoners.

Ayat Qaisi – attempted murder

Rujina Riyad Muhammad Jenajra – conspiracy to commit a crime and attempted murder

Rima abu-Ayesha – affiliation with an illegal organization

Heba Asaad Khaleel al-Natsha – attempted murder

Abdullah Khalil –assault on a military official and carrying a knife with intent to harm

Maymona Jabbarin – indicted for attempted murder and carrying a knife with intent to harm. Remanded for duration of proceedings

Jihad abu-Turki – attempted murder and carrying a knife with intent to harm

Bara’ah Malki – attempted murder and carrying a knife with intent to harm

Bukhari Muhammad Saleh Layla – attempted murder

Fatema Yunis Azzeq – indicted for illegal military training, carrying a firearm, attempted murder. Remanded for duration of proceedings.

Neveen Khalil Abdallah Daka – attempted murder

Kifah Bahash – assault on a military official

Linan Yussef Mussa Hanani Abu Gholma – carrying a firearm and attempted murder

Shereen Muhammad Khalil Hassan – attempted murder

Sana Hajajre Salah – attempted murder and carrying a knife with intent to harm

Manal Ziad Muhammad Raja Saba’nah – attempted murder and carrying a knife with intent to harm

Hamdan Abd Jiyad Zuhur – attempted murder

Baid Ahmed Yusuf Hiyam – affiliation with an illegal organization

Nahada Farhat da’areh, indicted for assault on a military official, carrying a knife with intent to harm. Remanded for duration of proceedings.

Nagua Abdelgani – indicted for affiliation with an illegal organization, public disorder. Remanded for duration of proceedings.

Seems like a lovely bunch.

5:12PM: The Jerusalem Post report to which I linked above has been inexplicably toned down.

At the time of my post, it was titled” B’Tselem: Goldstone report is wrong.”

Now, it is titled “Israel at fault for not probing self”

The emphasis of the article has also shifted away from B’Tselem’s problems with the Goldstone Report to their problems with Israel’s conduct.

What’s the bet B’Tselem contacted the Jerusalem Post and demanded the changes?

3:30PM:

fatima younis zaq - Reuters

Relatives of Fatima Younis Zaq, a Palestinian prisoner held in an Israeli jail, celebrate at her home in Gaza City, September 30, 2009, after receiving news of her upcoming release. Israel will free 20 Palestinian women, one of them Younis Zaq, from jail as early as Friday in exchange for a videotape from Hamas proving an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza Strip since 2006 is alive, officials on both sides said on Wednesday.

The average person seeing this photo and caption may feel happy for the released prisoner and her relieved family, and may be wondering why on earth Israel would imprison this woman.

That’s why I’m here.

In the wake of precise intelligence information, the Israel Security Agency (ISA), on 20 May 2007, at the Erez crossing, arrested two Palestinian women, who admitted to planning to perpetrate a double suicide bombing in crowded places (restaurants, events halls or any locality with a large concentration of soldiers) in Tel Aviv and Netanya. They further admitted that they were guided by Islamic Jihad, which exploited Israel’s humanitarian policy – the two had received medical entry permits into Israel under false pretenses.

Fatima Younes Hassan Zaq, 39, a resident of Gaza, mother of eight children and pregnant with her ninth, had been responsible for an Islamic Jihad Gaza women’s labor office for four years. She had been in contact with Islamic Jihad terrorists and coordinated contacts on their behalf with women who had volunteered to be suicide bombers.

Approximately three months ago, her niece, Rawda Ibrahim Younes Habib, 30, a resident of Gaza and mother of four children, sought her assistance in perpetrating a suicide attack. Zaq, who decided to participate in the attack as well, contacted her Islamic Jihad liaison, who aided the two women in putting their plan into operation.

The two women attended several of their meetings with Islamic Jihad terrorists accompanied by several of their children. Zaq’s 19-year-old son, also an Islamic Jihad terrorist, was present as the two women were photographed – holding copies of the Quran and weapons – before setting out.

In order for Zaq and Habib to enter Israel, an Islamic Jihad terrorist obtained an authentic entry permit which indicated that Habib was due to undergo medical tests at a Ramallah hospital, with Zaq as her attending relative. The terrorist also instructed the two to go to the hospital and actually undergo the test in order to cover their story.

The two women were then instructed to inform Islamic Jihad in Gaza. They were told that an operative would meet them in Ramallah, provide them with explosive belts, and accompany them into Israel. Before leaving Gaza, Zaq and Habib trained in operating explosive belts and in firing an AK-47. They were also instructed on what clothing to wear in order to allay suspicions.

A mother of eight children and pregnant with her ninth, willing to kill innocent people (including her unborn child) and ruin the lives of her living children. They don’t get much more depraved than that.

1:15PM: From the Department of Lopsided Deals:

Israel’s Security Cabinet has approved the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners and detainees in exchange for proof that captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit held in the Gaza Strip is alive.

If I was a palestinian, I’d be offended that my leaders place such a small value on our lives (proof of 1 Israeli life = 20 palestinian lives)

1:12PM: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to present a proposal to his cabinet tomorrow for the establishment of an investigative committee to probe the findings of the Goldstone report.

No, not to investigate IDF conduct during Operation Cast Lead, but to examine how Goldstone arrived at his erroneous conclusions.

Top officials in Jerusalem have stated that the report is full of lies and distortions, which demand an examination of how Goldstone arrived at his conclusions.

Sources in Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s bureau denied Wednesday reports that Barak had called for the establishment of an investigative committee into the Goldstone report, but confirmed that Barak asked former Israel Chief Justice Aharon Barak to support efforts to challenge the UN report’s findings.

12:30PM: Joke of the day: Although, I’m not laughing.

Libya, Iran Accuse Israel of ‘Genocide’ at U.N. Human Rights Council

Israel was in the dock at the U.N. Human Rights Council Tuesday, as nation after nation praised as “balanced” and “objective” a report accusing the Jewish state of war crimes during its offensive against Hamas in Gaza last winter.

Envoys for Iran and Libya added “genocide” to the charge sheet, although the head of a fact finding mission that compiled the document, South African Judge Richard Goldstone, said later that doing so was “misuse of our report.”

The delegations taking part in an “interactive dialogue” following Goldstone’s presentation of the report in Geneva fell into two broad categories, reflecting the divisions that have long characterized the world body’s top human rights organ.

Countries representing the Arab, Islamic, African and “non-aligned” blocs pressed for support for a resolution at the Human Rights Council (HRC) this week endorsing the recommendations of the Goldstone report “in full.

Notice how the nations endorsing the report’s recommendations are those with the worst human rights records in the world.

9:25AM: Yesterday, I posted this claim by the JIDF blog that my Facebook account, amongst others, was marked for deactivation. Given that I had not heard anything from Facebook, I treated this claim with skepticism, as I do all unsubstantiated claims.

Well today, lo and behold, my account has been deactivated, despite my not having received any warning about it from Facebook.

I’m currently considering my options.

6:15AM: Here is the US’ troubling reaction to the Report at the same UNHRC session.

Notice how they are asking Israel to probe possible war crimes, just like Hamas.

barak happy - AFP

5:55AM: Yesterday, a British court rejected a petition urging an arrest warrant for Defense Minister Ehud Barak since he committed “war crimes” during Operation Cast Lead, on the grounds he enjoys diplomatic immunity and therefore cannot be prosecuted. But the lawyer who orchestrated the petition has vowed to continue pursuing legal action against any Israeli official who arrives in the UK.

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