Appreciate this article? +972 depends on your support.

Click here to help us keep going

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israeli minister, media perpetuate lie about Goldstone's Gaza report

Eli Yishai, Israel’s lethally incompetent Interior Minister, is outraged that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza war, has not condemned attacks on Israeli civilians. According to Ynet, Yishai sent a letter to Goldstone in which he “demanded of Goldstone to condemn the firing from Gaza as he did with IDF operations in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea that Goldstone did not condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza is one of the oft-repeated lies about his report. Look, the document is posted on the World Wide Web. It is pretty long, so let me spoil it for you. On page 32, it states, regarding the rockets and mortars fired from Gaza:

The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel and that, where there is no intended military target and the rockets and mortars are launched into a civilian population, they constitute a deliberate attack against a civilian population. These acts would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity. Given the seeming inability of the Palestinian armed groups to direct the rockets and mortars towards specific targets and given that the attacks have caused very little damage to Israeli military assets, the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.

… Noting that some of the Palestinian armed groups, among them Hamas, have publicly expressed their intention to target civilians in reprisal for the civilian fatalities in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law.

Goldstone, like everyone else, is not above criticism. But the accusation that he did not condemn attacks on Israeli civilians is an outrageous lie. By reporting these accusations, without pointing to their utter, demonstrable falseness, Israeli media is a collaborator in this libel (no, not a “blood libel”, but still, a pretty nasty libel).

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. aristeides

      What would Israel do without lies?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Sylvia

      “These acts WOULD constitute war crimes and MAY amount to crimes against humanity.”

      I don’t see a condemnation. He falls short of determining that indeed those actions DO constitute war crimes. That indeed they Intended to target civilians. A far cry from the language he used to damn Israel.

      We are talking of EIGHT YEARS of suffering. Of brutal, daily rocket assaults on an unarmed, poverty-stricken population of refugees from Arab countries.
      Where is the outrage? Would? May? This is a joke!

      Reply to Comment
    3. Roi Maor

      Sylvia – you are continuing this blatant lie. Have you no shame? The full quote is right there, above your comment!

      You say: “He falls short of determining that indeed … they Intended to target civilians.”

      Really? How about “The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel…”

      You say: “A far cry from the language he used to damn Israel.” Really? You bring no quotes, which is not surprising, considering that this claim is completely and utterly false.

      You say: “We are talking of EIGHT YEARS of suffering. Of brutal, daily rocket assaults on an unarmed, poverty-stricken population of refugees from Arab countries.” Have you even read the report? If you do, you would notice that it details quite extensively the suffering of Israelis.

      Your comment is exactly the type of mendacious propaganda, which this post addresses. The fact that you resort to easily falsifiable lies only shows you cannot bring any truthful arguments to support your position.

      Reply to Comment
    4. directrob

      Sylvie, you should open your mind a bit and stop hairsplitting words. Goldstone is a strong defender of Israeli and Palestinian civilians. The “would and could” are just building blocks for the damning conclusion.

      The Goldstone reports writes:
      “the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.”

      See also the next paragraph:
      “109. Noting that some of the Palestinian armed groups, among them Hamas, have publicly
      expressed their intention to target civilians in reprisal for the civilian fatalities in Gaza as a result of Israeli military operations, the Mission is of the view that reprisals against civilians in armed hostilities are contrary to international humanitarian law.”

      So according to the Goldstone report there is significant evidence that the rockets and mortar attacks are a “crime against humanity” and “a war crime”.

      Reply to Comment
    5. sam

      so what else is new, we know how israel lies, israel depends on the american public’s perception, but with what is happening in the middle east right now, america’s public may matter less and less, europe is starting to realize what israel is doing, and the arab world may start to become a strong political force, and israel knows it cannot ever use this type of propaganda on the arab population.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Amin Nusseibeh

      Roi
      you have not confronted why zionists are so upset about the Goldstone report. The Goldstone Report was a major attempt for the UN to atone for the mistake it made in 1948 for allowing the creation of a Jewish state without a plebiscite. The Goldstone Report is a belated recognition by the international community that israel is not truly a legitimate state, and therefore does not have a “right” to self defence. Hasbarists rightly recognize that the Goldstone Report was a devastating attack on the legitimacy of israel, because no other legitimate state has had its right to self defence questioned. On the other hand, it is the attack on the legitimacy of israel that gives us antizionists hope that the mistake of 1948 can be rectified, and that we can exercise our right of return in a peaceful manner

      Reply to Comment
    7. ChicagosMonster

      Sylvia, and what about the 64 years of brutal military occupation and ethnic cleansing from their indigenous homeland? That’s 8x the suffering (with an incalculable number of greater deaths than Israelis) but it’s not Jewish suffering so that doesn’t count to you, right?

      Troll.

      Reply to Comment
    8. This is such a common and tired refrain that Yishai tried to employ: those who critique Israel can be delegitimized due to a lack of balance, due to not critiquing the other side.

      And as is so often the case, that lack of balance doesn’t even exist.

      While I agree that the Goldstone report is not without its problems, those who attack its findings often do so from a position that is full of emotion but short on facts.

      Reply to Comment
    9. piotr

      Of course the condemnation is somewhat tepid. How to find “10 thousand rockets” to be the pinnacle of barbarism when they were utterly ineffective, when the same investigation also catalogs act of indiscriminate murder, destruction, vandalism etc.

      On the other hand, I actually do not understand this “legitimacy of a state”. The right of Russia to defend her citizens and allies against a lethal aggression from Georgia was profusely questioned, but no Russian diplomat ever complained about “delegitimizing Russia”. When the push came to shove, Georgia was almost as hapless against Russia as Gaza against Israel. This is the only recent was I could find where a weak but “feisty” opponent was matched with a state that had overwhelmingly superior strength.

      By the way, I stumbled upon an example of a navy detaining a foreign vessel in international waters against resistance resembling Mavi Marmara. South Korea detained Chinese fishermen accusing them that they fled Korean economic zone where they were fishing without a permit, and a number of Korean sailors had broken hands because Chinese defended their boat with metal bars. All fishermen were detained and none was killed. One can ask: is it a Korean aberration to refrain from shooting people who do not shoot at you? I am pretty sure that their Marines are trained in Korean martial arts, and they knew how to resort to non-lethal violence.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Sylvia

      I am taking issue with those specific words: “the accusation that he did not condemn attacks on Israeli civilians is an outrageous lie”.

      Here is the language that he used to characterize the Israeli operation:

      “While the Israeli Government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercise of its right to self-defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.” (Par. 1883)

      Now this is condemnation. Clear, unambiguous, precise. Simply put, it says: The Mission considers that the Israeli Government plotted to target the people of Gaza – under the false pretext of self-defense.

      Compare it to the language used with regard to the -unnamed – Gaza Government:
      “These acts WOULD constitute war crimes and MAY amount to crimes against humanity.”
      Vague, if you ask me.
      “The Mission has further determined that these attacks constitute indiscriminate attacks upon the civilian population of southern Israel”
      No hint of intentional targeting of civilians on the part of the Gaza Government.
      The attacks, not individuals, are standing accused.
      Can you condemn attacks? As I said, a joke.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Sylvia

      Directrob

      ““the Mission finds that there is significant evidence to suggest that one of the primary purposes of the rocket and mortar attacks is to spread terror among the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law”

      You’ll agree with me that “significant evidence to suggest” is not as trenchent a charge as “sought … to target” and that it doesn’t constitute a condemnation.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Sylvia

      Chicagomonster

      Trust me, I really empathize with the suffering of the Palestinians. I understand them. I empathize even more with the Copts of Egypt who are on the brink of extermination and ethnic cleansing. Millions of them.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Sylvia

      Piotr
      “How to find “10 thousand rockets” to be the pinnacle of barbarism when they were utterly ineffective”
      Even a stone sent from that distance and at that speed can kill you if you stand there and wait for it. Think about it.

      Reply to Comment
    14. directrob

      Sylvia:
      You are reading the report with a bit of paranoia. Goldstone does not make a secret of his opinion. If you want it from the man’s own lips follow the link (it is worth listening to it in full but I make it easy):

      http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10232009/watch.html

      BILL MOYERS: Did you find war crimes by Hamas?

      RICHARD GOLDSTONE: Oh, indeed.

      BILL MOYERS: What were they?

      RICHARD GOLDSTONE: We found that the firing of many thousands of rockets and mortars at a civilian population to constitute a very serious war crime. And we said possibly crimes against humanity.

      Reply to Comment
    15. Max

      directrob: the difference between your comment and Sylvia’s is obvious: you need to refer to another source to support your view, while she refers to the document. In other words – you reply strengthens her claim, as it shows how easy it is to drop the “would”, while keeping the “may” (now “possibly”) for the harder statement.
      But as important: the fact is that the wording is such that the impression around the world based on the report is exactly what Sylvia says, not your attempt at hair-splitting legal analysis justification.
      It leaves people like me, who do think the report reveals many hidden truths, feeling disgusted by its blatant one-sidedness

      Reply to Comment
    16. directrob

      Max, you forgot the point of the article. “Interior Minister, is outraged that Judge Richard Goldstone, who headed the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza war, has not condemned attacks on Israeli civilians.”
      My position is that Goldstone comdemned the attacks as war crime.

      Reply to Comment