Goldstone Report Suppressed Crucial Evidence
29 October, 2009
To the many critical comments on the U.N. Goldstone Report this article is adding a crucial point regarding both procedure and content, which we believe should disqualify the Mission and its Report both morally and legally. Judge Goldstone declared before the Mission started its work that he accepted this difficult mandate only to pursue truth and justice about the Gaza military operation, and invited submissions from the public. We, Take-A-Pen, an international volunteer grass-roots network, believed in his sincerity: prepared and sent two major submissions to the Mission and to Goldstone himself and received their acknowledgements. But the material we sent was never used in any way and we want to analyze here why. From this point on the identity of the submitter bears no importance for our study, our subject is the submissions' content and the Goldstone Mission's way of handling them.
We submitted well-researched information and hard evidence about Hamas's role in the Gaza armed conflict. The First Submission was based on my Open Letter sent to the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon on January 13, 2009: "Hamas leaders to be brought to Trial for War Crimes ". This Open Letter was published in the Jerusalem Post, and later endorsed by a global Petition to the U.N. which had collected 80,000 supporting signatures from 45 countries by mid February. The Submission listed substantiated suspicions of eleven different sorts of war crimes the Hamas regime committed before, during and after Israel's Gaza operation; the five firsts of which, abridged, are these:
- firing rockets and grenades purposely at civilian targets in Israel,
- firing these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools...
- storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and residential buildings,
- regularly using its own civilians as human shields, particularly children...
- children and minors have routinely been used by Hamas for military purposes. Hamas has also indoctrinated children and minors to murderous hatred and killing...
We informed the Goldstone Mission about the Petition and expected that they would consider the views of 80,000 citizens from the whole world. They did not. The Report totally ignores the content of the First Submission.
The Second Submission provided supportive hard evidence. Such as two detailed IDF aerial photos showing the exact locations of Hamas rocket launches directed against Sderot and other Israeli civilian targets, and their relative locations to Protected Sites in Gaza (such as schools). Our analysis of these aerial photos proved beyond doubt those locations' very high coincidence rate, which means that using PS-s as human shields was a consistent, systematic Hamas strategy - as the second and fourth charges above stated. No reference to all this was made in the Goldstone report.
Goldstone repeatedly declares that the Report contains so little pro-Israel and anti-Hamas material because Israel didn't cooperate with him. The real reason is that the Goldstone Report heavily discriminates between anti-Israeli and pro-Israeli submissions. On the one hand it surprises by unchallenged mass quotations from dubious sources, it quotes tens of pages from unreliable witnesses like openly anti-Israeli organizations and even Hamas operatives. But it doesn't quote, use - or at least challenge - one single word, fact, picture or idea out of Take-A-Pen's 8,000 word long submissions. And there are other examples.
We'd like to believe that this omissions are random and not deliberate - but we can not. Between the Report's publication and its presentation to the UN Human Rights Council on September 29, I sent three personal letters to Judge Goldstone, calling his attention to this crucial shortage, which, together with many other discrepancies already revealed in the Report, well justified its correction - and received his conciliatory replies.
The final question is, is it really crucial evidence what Goldstone knowingly denied to use? And why would he do this? Because using this evidence would have significantly changed the Mission's Report and its two crucial conclusions. The Goldstein Report expressedly states that, though there were rumors, the Mission hasn't found compelling evidence that Hamas used human shields and therefore they dropped this charge - our evidence proves it otherwise.
And acknowledging that Hamas systematically used Human Shields, both individual Palestinian civilians and Protected Sites, would explain a large part of Palestinian civilian casualties and would clean them from Israel's responsibility, as the Report states, and place them firmly on the list of Hamas War Crimes, as it actually happened. This would have undermined Goldstone's most damaging fabrication about IDF deliberately hitting Palestinian civilians.
Many have expressed views that the Goldstone Report serves predetermined anti-Israel conclusions and shows bias to favor a terrorist regime against a self-critical democracy, assumably to serve Judge Goldstone's personal ambitions. It is widely feared that the Report's acceptance by formal UN authorities would strengthen terror's hands and weaken the self-defense of their victims everywhere in the world. However, these arguments against the Report are, partly at least, opinions, arguable themselves.
Suppressing evidence is another matter. Fact: relevant rich material was submitted according to the rules to the UN Mission and to Goldstone himself, and was totally ignored. Fact, Goldstone knew very well about this evidence, from our personal correspondence too. Therefore not addressing them at all could not be forgetfulness but deliberate omission. I am aware of several other cases when the Goldstone Mission suppressed unwelcome evidence. One known such case is Dr. Mirela Siderer, who gave testimony before the HRC on behalf of the UN Watch organization, and complained about Goldstone "forgetting" her testimony to the mission, and misleading her.
Suppression of evidence - Goldstone as judge could tell us - is nothing short of straightforward lies before a court. Only this time he has been on the wrong side of the bench. This is not a question of opinion like some other arguments but fact. The Goldstone Report in its present form must be disqualified for any further use, because it was born amidst massive suppression of crucial evidence.
by Andre Moses - Endre Mozes is founder chairman of Take-A-Pen, a multilingual grass-roots media-watch and letter-writing advocacy network www.takeapen.org
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