The Day In Israel: Thurs Sept 17th, 2009

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry will focus its efforts to combat the Goldstone report on the United States, Russia and some other members of the United Nations Security Council and the Human Rights Council involved in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The message?

That the report threatens those countries because it makes the war on terror very difficult, and therefore efforts must be made to prevent it from being brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

This looks very much like Israel’s message vis-a-vis Iran: This is not just our problem, but the world’s.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu already raised the issue yesterday with US special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, while Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon discussed it with US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other senior officials. Netanyahu plans to speak in the coming days to other prime ministers of countries represented on the Human Rights Council.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

5:10PM: It’s now Professor Richard Landes’ turn to fisk Goldstone. And what a glorious fisking it is.

5:08PM: J-Wire brings us a report that is flying pig material.

Ethnic broadcaster SBS has instructed its journalists not to use the terms “Palestinian lands” or “disputed territories” in matters relating to the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In a memo issued by Paul Cutler, Head of News and Current Affairs, journalists were told that the decision had been made by the ombudsman.

The memo states  ”Reasonable effort should be made to ensure news and current affairs programs are balanced and impartial “

In making the ruling, the Ombudsman said: “The land concerned remains the subject of protracted and deep dispute and therefore the reasonable viewer could consider that the use of the term “Palestinian Land” indicates a lack of impartiality as required under the Codes.”

The status of Israeli settlements on the West Bank is controversial, and is the subject of ongoing negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

When discussing territory whose status remains the subject of negotiation, care must be taken to ensure that the language used is neutral and cannot be interpreted as being favourable to one side over another.  The best way to achieve this is to describe the geographic location of the settlements e.g. “Israeli settlements on the West Bank” or “Israeli settlements on the outskirts of Jerusalem” or similar.  We should avoid describing them as “on Palestinian land” or “on disputed land”.

But an SBS writer told J-Wire: “We did not know that an Ombudsman even existed and that includes staff members who have been here for ages.”

He told J-Wire that “Palestinian lands” used in reference to the West Bank and East Jerusalem was considered  a “partisan term”. He said: “We have been told to stick to geographical descriptions rather than political. It all seems Orwellian nonsense and the directive has been met with surprise and dismay.”

The journalist told J-Wire “SBS is interested in avoiding complaints”.  The SBS memo, however, clearly states that the new instructions have been implemented to maintain impartiality and fair balance. It also cites Middle East peace talks “gaining momentum”.

4:53PM: Now it’s Dersh’s turn to rip the Goldstone report.


The lowest blow and the worst canard contained in this lie-laden report is that the Israeli judicial system is incapable of conducting investigations and bringing about compliance with international law.

It claims that the Israeli judicial system “has major structural flaws that make the system inconsistent with international standards,” and that “there is little potential for accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law through domestic institutions in Israel.”

This is a direct attack on the Israeli Supreme Court by a lawyer who knows full well that there is no country in the world that has a judicial system that demands more accountability than the Israeli system does. There is no judicial system in the world – not in the United States, not in Great Britain, not in South Africa, not in France – that takes more seriously its responsibility to bring its military into compliance with international law.

4:48PM: Richard Goldstone has denied his team set out on a biased mission.

“I deny that completely,” Judge Richard Goldstone said in remarks broadcast on Thursday on public radio, following Israeli accusations.

“I was completely independent, nobody dictated any outcome, and the outcome was a result of the independent inquiries that our mission made,” he said.

Goldstone told interviewers that he stood behind his commission’s findings and regretted only Israel’s refusal to cooperate with the investigation.

“If there is any difference that I would have preferred, [it] would have been that we could have got cooperation from Israel and in particular, I would have liked the Israeli government to assist us and decide what we should investigate because that’s what I asked them to do,” he said.

Sure. Goldstone has admitted to receiving a copy of a 160-page report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry which details the Israel’s claims one by one, including images and other proof of rocket attacks, the murder of Israeli civilians, and the violation of human rights by Hamas. Yet it does not seem to have made an iota of a difference. Then there’s the fact that bloggers have started going through Goldstone’s report and easily pointed to reports and video contradicting the main findings – reports and video Goldstone and his team could have easily found had they wanted to.

Sorry, Goldstone, but I don’t buy that you’re not out to get Israel, just because you and your daughter say so.

3:52PM: An Israeli woman fatally wounded during the October 2005 terrorist attack at the Hadera open-air market, has died after lying unconscious in the hospital for the past four years. She leaves behind a husband and three children, aged 6, 7, and 15.

3:15PM: Cause and effect:

A day after the army began removing 100 dirt and stone roadblocks in the West Bank in an effort to make life easier for Palestinians, the IDF thwarted a stabbing attack on Thursday morning in the Metzad settlement of Gush Etzion

10:35AM: Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren interviews Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon about Iran becoming a nuclear nation.

9:00AM: Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor discusses the Goldstone report in the Wall Street Journal.


Mr. Goldstone’s professional qualifications are anchored in international law, but if anything, this report highlights the absurdity of a vocabulary and framework that are anachronistic. Applying classical concepts and terms to terror and asymmetric urban warfare, in which the entire population is a massive human shield and hospitals are used as command headquarters, as in the case of Gaza, is ridiculous. The report fails to deal with the difficulty of defining a civilian in this context, and following the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, the report classifies the members of the Hamas “police” as civilians, erasing their membership in Hamas’ armed forces and their participation in the rocket barrages targeting Israeli civilians.

On most issues, Mr. Goldstone followed the lead and biases of NGO “superpowers” particularly Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Human Rights Watch’s publications on Gaza have been discredited following the exposure of the obsession with Nazi memorabilia and false claims of its “senior military expert,” Marc Garlasco. But his allegations are adopted in this report, again without any independent investigation and despite the testimony of military experts who exposed Mr. Garlasco’s fictions. Indeed, Mr. Goldstone’s long relationship with Human Rights Watch, including his membership on its board, added to the credibility problems of this inquiry.

Similarly, the attempt to shove the role of Iran under the carpet follows the lead of these NGOs, as does the decision to ignore video evidence showing the use of civilians as cover for Hamas fighters attacking Israel (human shields), including the launch of rockets from schools. Instead, copying the unreliable NGO claims almost word for word, the issue is dismissed on the grounds that the committee “received no reports of such incidents from other sources.” No independent research was conducted.

Read the whole thing.

8:52AM: I’ve heard of Carpal tunnel, but this is ridiculous.

A Hamas operative revealed to Ynet Wednesday that smuggling tunnels spread throughout the border between Egypt  and Gaza were now being used to smuggle new cars into the Strip, in pieces.

For the first time in three years new automobile models, produced in 2009, are being spotted on the streets of Gaza after car dealers have succeed in smuggling them through underground tunnels regularly bombed by Israel.

This is, of course, not the first time the palestinians have smuggled in things they ride.

5:45AM: Flashback: The tale of 21-year-old Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, who in 2005 attempted a suicide bomb attack on Israel’s Soroka hospital, where she was a patient.

5:38AM: Israellycool reader Haim has located the anti Toronto Film Festival boycott letter here.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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