Report Proves Israel Guilty of Serious Violations of Human Rights

A local group of Israel Deniers calling itself “Jews for Peace” has taken upon itself to analyze, once a month, a portion of the Goldstone Report. The Report is highly critical of Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead (12/2008 – 1/2009), accusing the Jewish State of “serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights law.”

Head of the UN Fact Finding Mission Justice Richard Goldstone presented the report of the Mission to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 29 September 2009, urging the Council and the international community as a whole to put an end to impunity for violations of international law in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

In his report, Goldstone notes: “The Mission repeatedly sought to obtain the cooperation of the Government of Israel. [N]umerous attempts had failed.”

Since its publication, the Report garnered cult following of Israel Deniers and Israel haters, thus ensuring continuous flare of activity and longevity. In short, the Report served a purpose and continues to do so. It is the sound of the gavel of a judge pronouncing a guilty verdict, echoing in our ears over and over and over again.

Another report was published today, the Israeli Public Commission to Examine the Maritime Incident of 31 May 2010.

The Commission was headed by Israel’s Supreme Court Justice Emeritus Jacob Turkel, four other notable Israelis and two foreign experts (full members without voting rights): Lord David Trimble, the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize co-Laureate and a member of Britain’s House of Lords, and Brigadier General (ret.) Kenneth Watkin, the former Judge Advocate General of the Canadian army.

It took the Commission five months to conclude its investigations, and today it published its report. It concludes:

The naval blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip – in view of the security circumstances and Israel’s efforts to comply with its humanitarian obligations – was legal pursuant to the rules of international law.

The actions carried out by Israel on May 31, 2010, to enforce the naval blockade had the regrettable consequences of the loss of human life and physical injuries. Nonetheless, and despite the limited number of uses of force for which we could not reach a conclusion, the actions taken were found to be legal pursuant to the rules of international law.

Two questions are now asked: Will anyone listen and does anyone care? Judgment, it seems, was rendered on May 31, 2010, as the events were unfolding. Although there was no real need to ratify this judgment, the UN’s Commission investigating Israel’s attack on the “Freedom Flotilla,” has provided the necessary zeal.

I have attended many of the Israeli Commission open (to the press only) hearings. The hearings were conducted in Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and provided a thorough glimpse into Israel’s modus operandi and thinking. I could not escape thinking, in one public hearing after another, “why does Israel conduct these open meetings? What good can possibly come out of it?”

When I go to the doctor, for a very thorough annual exam, I do not expect, and would quite adamantly object to, a throng of reporters sitting touching distance from me and dissecting every procedure, its validity and the reasoning behind it.

When the security of the Jewish state is at stake, why would she elect to parade her top officers, subjecting them to the most complete review of their actions? The fact it was done in broad daylight, for every Israeli and the whole world to see did not contribute to Israel’s credibility, rather added a spectacle to the global charade of finding Israel GUILTY.

Instead, the very same investigation should have taken place for Israel to learn what to do differently next time. It is called “debriefing,” and is done away from the public light and scrutiny. Thus, the published conclusions contribute little if anything to Israel’s recipe book.

Will Israel know how to behave differently tomorrow, or today, when attacked so skillfully again? As I read the report, and review each of those meetings I have attended, I am saddened to conclude that once again Israel’s frame of reference is skewed. Israel is trying to appease rather than strengthen herself to do better next time – better for herself, not better in the court of international public opinion.

In the series “Postcards from Israel,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers throughout the world to join them as they present reports from Israel as seen by two sets of eyes: Bussel’s on the ground, Zager’s counter-point from home. Israel and the United States are inter-related – the two countries we hold dearest to our hearts – and so is this “point – counter-point” presentation that has, since 2008, become part of our lives.