IDF sources responded to reports of Hizbullah finding Israeli “spying devices” by saying the incident was staged in an attempt to divert attention from the explosion of a weapons cache in southern Lebanon last week.
Quite frankly, this is a real possibility, given Hizbullah’s love of the stage. Plus they seem to have had trouble getting their story straight.
Lebanese news outlets reported earlier Sunday that espionage devices placed by the IDF were located and destroyed in an explosion in south Lebanon on Saturday.
The devices were reportedly discovered near a town close to the Israel-Lebanon border, and destroyed in a midnight blast, apparently by the Lebanon-based militant Hezbollah organization.
There were also reports, however, that the Lebanese army blew up the device, as well as claims that the IDF was behind the blast.
The Hezbollah-affilited Al-Manar reported that a drone destroyed the device. The paper said that when Hezbollah operatives arrived near the site, they found another device.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
8:45PM: And now over to Tawil Fadiha, the Palestinian Minister of Uncontrollable Rage (hat tip: Jawa Report).
7:38PM: What took them so long?
After accusing the United States and Britain of involvement in the suicide attack that took place in south Iran on Sunday, the Islamic Republic on Monday claimed that Israel was also involved in the terror attack.
Revolutionary Guard chief Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said Monday that the Sunni rebel group, known as Jundallah, or Soldiers of God, is at work to disrupt security in Iran and he vowed to deliver a “crushing” response.
“New evidence has been obtained proving the link between yesterday’s terrorist attack and the US, British and Pakistani intelligence services,” state TV quoted Jafari as saying. “Evidence shows that US, British and Pakistani intelligence supported the group.”
He said the attack was “undoubtedly” planned and ordered by the three nation’s intelligence services and that a delegation would soon travel to Pakistan to present evidence.
When asked how those responsible for the attack would be punished, Jafari said, “The American and Israeli intelligence agencies are behind this. We must pay them back in order to punish them, and, God willing, we hope to be able to do so.”
7:30PM: As expressed in his Jerusalem Post op-ed, Richard Goldstone sees his Jewishness as a motivating factor for accepting the task to head the commission which ultimately produced his report damning Israel. At the same time, he seems clueless to the possibility that others likely also saw his Jewishness as a motivating factor to offer him this role in the first place.
Now, opponents of Israel are predictably using the fact of Goldstone’s Jewishness to argue that the report must be accurate and objective.
Case in point: George Galloway.
5:00PM: Swiss cartoonist Patrick Chappatte on the Goldstone report.
That’s what you get when you adopt a policy of neutrality instead of getting behind the forces of good: the inability to distinguish between right and wrong (hat tip: Media Backspin).
1:18PM: Here’s some Goldstone reading for your pleasure:
- Richard Landes with yet another glorious fisking, this time of Goldstone’s JPost op-ed.
- John Bolton argues that joining the UN Human Rights Council was a mistake Obama should correct.
- An op-ed in The Australian positing the Goldstone report has damaged the UN’s credibility (now that’s an oxymoron)
9:18AM: Here is the half-time entertainment at yesterday’s Maccabi Tel Aviv-New York Knicks exhibition game at Madison Square Garden.
A different sort of cheerleading, to be sure.
6:10AM: According to Ha’aretz, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero “We solved the matter of the settlements with the Americans..I cannot say more than that. If you are interested in hearing more details, ask in Washington.”
I’m not sure what Netanyahu meant, but given our leaders’ track record in giving in to international pressure, I am guessing it is not a good thing.
Meanwhile, the Ha’aretz report contains this curious (read: disturbing) paragraph:
Zapatero told Netanyahu of his visit to the White House two days before his arrival in Jerusalem. He said he was obsessed with Obama, and that there will never be another chance where a man who professes values such as his will be president, and everyone must help him realize his vision.
6:00AM: Richard Goldstone seems to be feeling the pressure, as he has written the following op-ed in the Jerusalem Post to respond to the attacks on his fact-finding mission and report (my sources tell me he approached the Post and not vice versa).
Five weeks after the release of the Report of the Fact Finding Mission on Gaza, there has been no attempt by any of its critics to come to grips with its substance. It has been fulsomely approved by those whose interests it is thought to serve and rejected by those of the opposite view. Those who attack it do so too often by making personal attacks on its authors’ motives and those who approve it rely on its authors’ reputations.
Israeli government spokesmen and those who support them have attacked it in the harshest terms and, in particular my participation, in a most personal and hurtful way. The time has now come for more sober reflection on what the report means and appropriate Israeli reactions to it.
I begin with my own motivation, as a Jew who has supported Israel and its people all my life, for having agreed to head the Gaza mission. Over the past 20 years, I have investigated serious violations of international law in my own country, South Africa, in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda and the alleged fraud and theft by governments and political leaders in a number of countries in connection with the United Nations Iraq Oil for Food program. In all of these, allegations reached the highest political echelons. In every instance, I spoke out strongly in favor of full investigations and, where appropriate, criminal prosecutions. I have spoken out over the years on behalf of the International Bar Association against human rights violations in many countries, including Sri Lanka, China, Russia, Iran, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
I would have been acting against those principles and my own convictions and conscience if I had refused a request from the United Nations to investigate serious allegations of war crimes against both Israel and Hamas in the context of Operation Cast Lead.
AS A Jew, I felt a greater and not a lesser obligation to do so. It is well documented that as a condition of my participation I insisted upon and received an evenhanded mandate to investigate all sides and that is what we sought to do.
I sincerely believed that because of my own record and the terms of the mission’s mandate we would receive the cooperation of the Israeli government. Its refusal to cooperate was a grave error. My plea for cooperation was repeated before and during the investigation and it sits, plain as day, in the appendices of the Gaza report for those who actually bother to read it. Our mission obviously could only consider and report on what it saw, heard and read. If the government of Israel failed to bring facts and analyses to our attention, we cannot fairly be blamed for the consequences. Those who feel that our report failed to give adequate attention to specific incidents or issues should be asking the Israeli government why it failed to argue its cause.
Israel missed a golden opportunity to actually have a fair hearing from a UN-sponsored inquiry. Of course, I was aware of and have frequently spoken out against the unfair and exceptional treatment of Israel by the UN and especially by the Human Rights Council.
I did so again last week. Israel could have seized the opportunity provided by the even-handed mandate of our mission and used it as a precedent for a new direction by the United Nations in the Middle East. Instead, we were shut out.
As I stated in response to a recent letter from the mayor of Sderot, I believed strongly that our mission should have been allowed to visit Sderot and other parts of southern Israel that have been at the receiving end of unlawful attacks by many thousands of rockets and mortars fired at civilian targets by Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza. We were prevented from doing so by, what I believe, was a misguided decision by the Israeli government.
In Gaza, I was surprised and shocked by the destruction and misery there. I had not expected it. I did not anticipate that the IDF would have targeted civilians and civilian objects. I did not anticipate seeing the vast destruction of the economic infrastructure of Gaza including its agricultural lands, industrial factories, water supply and sanitation works. These are not military targets. I have not heard or read any government justification for this destruction.
OF COURSE the children of Sderot and the children of Gaza have the same rights to protection under international law and that is why, notwithstanding the decision of the government of Israel, we took whatever steps were open to us to obtain information from victims and experts in southern Israel about the effects on their lives of sustained rocket and mortar attacks over a period of years. It was on the strength of those investigations that we held those attacks to constitute serious war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The refusal of cooperation by the government of Israel did not prevent us from reacting positively to a request from Gilad Schalit’s father to speak personally to our mission at its public session in Geneva. No one who heard his evidence could fail to have been moved by the unspeakable pain of a parent whose young son was being held for over three years in unlawful circumstances without any contact with the outside world and not even allowed visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The mission called for his release.
Israel and its courts have always recognized that they are bound by norms of international law that it has formally ratified or that have become binding as customary international law upon all nations. The fact that the United Nations and too many members of the international community have unfairly singled out Israel for condemnation and failed to investigate horrible human rights violations in other countries cannot make Israel immune from the very standards it has accepted as binding upon it.
Israel has a strong history of investigating allegations made against its own officials reaching to the highest levels of government: the inquiries into the Yom Kippur War, Sabra and Shatila, Bus 300 and the Second Lebanon War.
Israel has an internationally renowned and respected judiciary that should be envy of many other countries in the region. It has the means and ability to investigate itself. Has it the will?
International lawyer Alan Baker has responded here.
While indeed the mission heard, saw and was persuaded by the very one-sided picture elaborately staged by Hamas in Gaza, including hand-picked witness testimony and internationally televised and web-circulated public hearings, Goldstone’s complaint that they were not provided with input from the Israeli side is simply untrue to the point of being ridiculous. Several prominent Israeli and other international lawyers (including myself) and Jewish organizations forwarded to the mission and to Goldstone personally, vast amounts of information, including the official papers issued by Israel’s Foreign Ministry, legal opinions, facts and media cuttings regarding the Hamas rocket barrages, violations, ambulance hijackings and the like.
I appeared before the mission in Geneva, together with a senior delegation of Magen David Adom (MDA), in an attempt to persuade it of the seriousness of the terrorization of Israel’s southern population by the Hamas rockets, and the psychological effect on the public. The delegation detailed the wide-ranging activities by MDA in treating those affected – including Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip. Others, including representatives of Israeli families harmed by Hamas, appeared before the mission.
But obviously all this was to no avail, since Goldstone and his team chose, for whatever reason, to ignore this extensive information in favor of a Hamas-organized production and some very selective Israeli and foreign non-governmental organizations known for their criticism of Israel.
Read the entire response, and then go to this site for an extensive treatment of the Goldstone report, which renders Goldstone’s assertion that “there has been no attempt by any of its critics to come to grips with its substance” as laughable.
5:38AM: The UN have sprung into action regarding the alleged detonation of the alleged Israeli spy devices in Lebanon, with UNIFIL releasing the following statement:
“Preliminary indications are that these explosions were caused by explosive charges contained in unattended underground sensors which were placed in this area by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) apparently during the 2006 war,” UNIFIL said in a statement.
Meanwhile, I don’t recall seeing any UNIFIL statement on last week’s explosion at the Hizbullah official’s home, for which there exists strong “preliminary indications” that Hizbullah violated UN resolution 1701.