The Day In Israel: Tues Sept 29th, 2009

62

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Last night, the IAF struck a rocket launching device in the Gaza Strip, which was aimed at Israel and set to fire. This followed a day in which palestinians fired 4 Qassam rockets and multiple mortar shells at Israel, and opened fire at IDF troops patrolling the border fence between Israel and Gaza.

In other words, the most “productive” day for palestinian terrorists in quite a while. Did I mention it was also the holiest day in the Jewish calendar?

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

10:15PM: In a busy evening for palestinian terrorists, they fired two Qassams into Israel and shot an Israeli earlier this evening.

10:04PM: Yet another example of the Goldstone Report’s irrelevance.

Dr. Mirella Sidrer, who was severely injured last May when a Grad rocket struck her clinic in Ashkelon, spoke on Tuesday against Justice Richard Goldstone, who led a UN committee to investigate  human rights violations during the Gaza war, saying he excluded her testimony from his final report .

Sidrer spoke during a one-day hearing held by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. “I don’t understand why my testimony wasn’t taken into account,” she said, “Especially by justice Goldstone, who sent me a letter saying he appreciated my testimony”.

Sidrer presented the committee with pictures and news articles showing the events that took place following the missile strike. Following her injuries, Sidrer had to undergo seven operations, and still has a long way to go until she is fully recovered.

According to sidrer, when the Goldstone Report was published, she was astonished to find her testimony had been excluded: “It was important that this time, all UN delegates hear what I have to say, as opposed to only Justice Goldstone and the committee.

“When I received the report, I searched for my testimony only to find my name mentioned in two or three lines on page 460… It said that a rocket was fired without warning on the shopping mall where I was injured. I don’t understand why my testimony was not taken into account.”

I guess she’s not considered a reliable witness like Mr Sex Gum.

7:52PM: The following post from a group called the JIDF has been brought to my attention:

YOM KIPPUR FACEBOOK CLAMPDOWN ON THE JEWS: Chabad, AISH, IDF, Arutz Sheva, and others threatened for deactivation!

Facebook plans to make good on their threat to deactivate the account of the founder of the JIDF within 48 hours, it has come to our attention that many other accounts of Jews, pro-Israel activists, bloggers, and others on Facebook are also at risk to be deactivated very soon. These accounts have thousands of friends, personal correspondence, photos, group and page admin privileges, etc.

Facebook will soon deactivate all of them, if the people behind them do not agree to provide government-issued identification and agree to change the names of the following accounts to a “real” name (or remove any religious title):

[follows is a list of Facebook accounts including my own]

For the record, I have never received a warning or threat that my Facebook account will be deactivated. If anyone from the JIDF is reading this, feel free to let me know why you have reason to believe my Facebook account is about to go the way of the Dodo bird.

7:38PM: Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, Professor of Law at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (Israel), a former Minister of Education and Knesset Member, as well as the recipient of the 2006 Israel Prize in Law, finds some humor in the Goldstone report (translated from Hebrew):

Goldstone’s Unconscious Humor

It is not true that the Goldstone report is exclusively anti-Israeli. After having established that Israel is guilty of crimes against international law and (possibly) humanity, after advocating punishing it with and arsenal of all conceivable sanctions, it also chides the Palestinians for some inappropriate measures taken by them.

First, there is Hamas. Goldstone does not let them go Scot free. Thus he blames the Hamas for a grievous offense:

“The mission remains unconvinced that any genuine and effective initiatives have been taken by the (Gaza) authorities to address the serious issues of violation of international human rights in the conduct of armed activities by militant groups in the Gaza strip”.

This refers to the shelling of southern Israel from Gaza in the eight years preceding operation “cast lead”. But what does Goldstone have in mind when he chides the Hamas for not taking genuine and effective initiative against the militants who do not adhere to international human law? Does he refer to their failure to petition the local High Court of Justice to issue a writ of mandamus against the militants? Or does he have in mind the fact that the Hamas Solicitor General has failed to issue an indictment against the offending militants?

Judge Goldstone rebukes the Hamas again for their treatment of Fattah ‘affiliates’. Goldstone finds that “such actions” – i.e. killing the Fatah detainees – “constitute serious violations of Human Rights or the Palestinian Basic Law”. Again, one may ask: what went wrong here? Did the Hamas Supreme Court of Justice ignore the Palestinian Basic Law? Where was the Hamas attorney general? Goldstone is not content with slapping Hamas’ wrist, he also reprimands the Palestinian authority:

“The Palestinian Authority continues to discharge a large number of civil and military service employees, or suspend their salaries, under the pretext of “non-adherence to the legitimate authority” or “non-obtainment of security approval” on their appointments, which has become a pre-requirement for enrolment in public service”. In effect, this measure means the exclusion of Hamas supporters or affiliates from public sector appointment…. The Mission is of the view that the reported measures are inconsistent with the Palestinian Authority’s obligations deriving from the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Palestinian Basic Law”. In other words, the PA is obliged, by international law, to employ those who want to unseat them.

This surely is an uncontrollable outburst of surreal humor but it pales in comparison with another outburst.

Goldstone, after quoting heavily from Ha’aretz, Israeli jurists, B’tzelem and other Israeli human right NGO’s, states.

“…the Mission received allegations that sources of criticism of actions by Israel during and following the military operations of December 2008-January 2009 from inside Israel were subjected to attempted or actual repression, and that the rights of freedom of association and expression for individuals and groups had been violated. In this regard, concerns were also raised about the denial of access to the media and to human rights monitors prior, during and after the military operations in Gaza”.

The humor stems from the fact that the evidence of this repression was given by Israelis – including those who addressed Goldstone’s committee. Israeli NGO’s who complained about this repression of dissent appear almost daily – loud and clear – on Israeli newspapers and state – owned radio and television.

For some obscure reason, there is no parallel finding about suppression of dissent by Hamas. Indeed, the report should have a sub-heading – Eyeless in Gaza – lifted from John Milton and Aldous Huxley.

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The humor stops where the report alleges actions of wanton brutality and killings by Israeli soldiers; even if only partially true, these cases should be a reason for sleepless nights for every law-abiding, humane Israeli. The IDF authorities state that they have investigated these allegations and, except for one case of looting, found no evidence of such war crimes. However, it is the opinion of this author that due to the severity of the allegations and the number of Palestinian civilians killed in the operation, Israel should re-investigate these thirty-plus cases and that this reinvestigation should be conducted by an independent body headed by an acting or retired judge of the Supreme Court. Such a body should be empowered to see army documents and make recommendations. This step is vital not because of Goldstone’s ludicrous report, replete with its instances of unconscious humor, but because we, Israelis, must be doubly sure that no crimes were perpetrated by our soldiers. We should not be “eyeless in Gaza”.

5:12PM: A group of palestinians is seeking an arrest warrant in the UK for Defense Minister Ehud Barak for alleged war crimes.

Barak decided not to change his plans for his UK visit, with his bureau releasing a statement saying: “No arrest warrant has been issued, and in any event, he has immunity due to his being a minister in the government.”

On Tuesday, two London law firms representing the group – Irvine Thanvi and Natas (ITN) and Imran Khan and Partners – applied for an international arrest warrant at Westminster Magistrates court in central London, claiming that Barak committed war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention during Operation Cast Lead.

Barak is currently in the UK and is set to address a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) reception during the Labour Party’s annual conference in Brighton, on the south coast of England, on Tuesday night.

The move came after 16 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip instructed Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based human rights group, to issue the charges. Al-Mezan in turn instructed the two London firms to represent the group.

A spokesman for ITN told The Jerusalem Post that an arrest warrant has been lodged and that the biggest hurdle would be Barak’s diplomatic immunity.

However, the spokesman said that he was confident that they have a strong legal argument which would override the issue of immunity.

He said that the court would decide on Tuesday afternoon if there was a case and added that if the court had not decided by the afternoon, they would issue an injunction to stop Barak from leaving the country.

A loophole in British law – in the International Criminal Court Act 2001 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988 – allows private individual complaints of “war crimes” to be lodged against military personnel, even if they are not British citizens and the alleged crimes were committed elsewhere.

2:56PM: UN investigator Richard Goldstone has defended his report accusing Israel of war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.

Speaking to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday, Goldstone defended the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict’s report, which found that both Israel and Palestinian armed groups had committed actions which amounted to war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity.

The judge urged the committee to refer the report to the UN Security Council, citing the fact that neither Israeli nor Hamas had carried out any internal investigations into Operation Cast Lead. Should parties fail to respond to Security Council demands, he said, the matter would be forwarded to the International Criminal Court.

“Now is the time for action,” Goldstone told the Human Rights Council. “A culture of impunity in the region has existed for too long. The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible crimes against humanity has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence. Time and again, experience has taught us that overlooking justice only leads to increased conflict and violence.”

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Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar described the report as “shameful,” claiming it cherry-picked incidents during the conflict for political effect, ignored Israel’s right to self-defense, and provided “support and vindication for terrorist tactics.”

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“Israel is committed to fully examining every allegation of wrongdoing, not because of this report, but despite it,” Leshno-Yaar told the council.

Goldstone, however, has called Israel’s efforts so far “pusillanimous.” He also described investigations by Hamas as a “complete failure.”

I guess Goldstone is paid well to use big words like “”pusillanimous” (it apparently means “cowardly”), but he should also be conducting his investigations properly. There are many problems with the report, some of which have already been discussed, and others which will soon see the light of day.

2:04PM: Jerusalem Post caption blooper of the day:

iranian nuclear chief

Alternatively, that’s one ugly bastard. And he’s possibly related to this chief Akbar:

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