MEMORANDUM To the President of The United Nations Human Rights Council
To the President, Ambassador Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi
and Members of The United Nations Human Rights Council
Re: The Report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict
From: Endre Mozes September 28, 2009
(personal contact data down below)
Honorable Mr. President and Members of the Council,
On behalf of the Take-A-Pen international volunteer network I am respectfully submitting the following crucial information and constructive comments to your esteemed Council for due consideration. We hope and believe that this information will contribute to better evaluating the Report of the UN Goldstone Fact-finding Mission, and to more appropriate corrections and completions where they are absolutely necessary in order to arrive at the right conclusions.
Essentially, in the following we'll briefly describe, partly attach and fully link to the two major Submissions that Take-A-Pen sent to the Mission and to Justice Richard Goldstone himself. We received their acknowledgement of receipt. However, from some reason unknown to us the Mission's Report as published on September 15 does not discuss, quote or use in any way our Submissions; not one single word, fact, photo or idea of our 8,000 word strong two Submissions. We do believe that appropriate use now of the hard evidence and analyses we provided to the Mission will significantly improve the Report, as we believe that the present omission of the evidence and our analyses makes the Report severely deficient and makes its conclusions improper and sometimes even adverse.
The 574 page long Report published on 15 September is an impressive document at first sight. However, more thorough study finds some major general faults in the Report. The Report is overwhelmingly preoccupied with Israel and deals very briefly only with Hamas - when Judge Goldstone had promised to investigate all parties, and quoted, Mr. President, your instructions to this end. There is a lot of untold aspects of Hamas misdeeds. Our First Submission (see later) lists 11 well-substantiated suspicions of war crimes Hamas consistently committed, but the discussion of most of this eleven suspicions is missing. Another consistent major fault of the Report is, as Israel's president, dovish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres said that it "fails to distinguish between the aggressor and those acting in self-defense". The Report's Summary speaks about 3 Israeli dead from Hamas rockets, which would be true during the Gaza fighting. 14 more dead Israeli civilians, hundreds maimed and tens of thousand civilians terrorized by the 6,300 Hamas rocket attacks before Israel gave an ultimatum to stop it and finally fought back - are left out of the Report - when it would show clearly who was the aggressor and that Israel started its military operation, with remarkable self-constraint, after years of ongoing Hamas aggression only.
The Report's conclusions seem to be balanced statements about war crimes possibly committed both by Israel and by Hamas. This is a cosmetic balance only, a non-decisive truism, because deviations from military and moral norms happen in every war, on every side. They happened also in the Allies' war against Nazi Germany on both side. The decisive questions are: who was the aggressor? Who commits crimes systematically and who on the other side does its best to keep deviations at minimum? Who tries to find and tell the truth, with an independent press and legal system watching, and who lies systematically - about Jenin, about the Al-Durra forgery, in Pallywood - and now about Gaza. The Mission could and should know that the accusations against Israel are based mostly on Palestinian testimonies collected under the well-known "freedom of speech" in the Hamas regime - improper speech is free prey for punishment, by beatings and up to shots by Hamas gunmen.
OUR 2 SUBMISSIONS - and their OMISSION FROM THE REPORT:
Our most specific and serious remark, however, is that Take-A-Pen's Submissions to the Goldstone Mission are totally missing in the Report. Our 2 large Submissions to the mission are only very briefly mentioned, merely as existent, and solely in the Report's Annexure and in a footnote. No sign that the mission read our Memoranda (Memorandum 1 and Memorandum 2) and used for its Report a single word, fact, photo or hard evidence we presented there; such as two IDF aerial photos and our analysis (see also below) demonstrating beyond doubt Hamas' systematic use of Protected Civilian Objects (like schools) to hide rocket launchers and to fire them from there. The same Report which quoted tens of unsubstantiated pages by sources known of anti-Israel bias, overlooked our information and even the hard evidence we submitted. We hope not because they were unfit for the present conclusions.
FIRST TAKE-A-PEN SUBMISSION:
Take-A-Pen originally submitted a MEMORANDUM to UN Chief Justice Richard Goldstone and to the UN Fact Finding Mission: "Eleven Major War Crimes Hamas has committed". Our First Submission was based on our global Petition to the UN: "Hamas leaders to Trial for War Crimes ", which had collected 80,000 supporting signatures from 45 countries by then - and their views were expected to interest the UN mission. The whole letter to the UN Sec,-Gen., that the Petition endorsed, can be seen in Appendix-1 or at http://www.petitiononline.com/tap12009/ . We'll submit the signed Petition to Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in the coming days.
This submission listed substantiated suspicions of eleven different sorts of war crimes the Hamas regime committed before, during and after Israel's Gaza operation, among them, in brief:
-"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..."
You can see Take-A-Pen's whole First Submission with its 5 Appendices (A to E) in Memorandum 1 . In addition to the 11 Hamas war crime suspicions, it discusses and adds evidence to several matters beyond the Petition's scope, such as the subject of reliability of witnesses under different regimes. It quotes a very important legal precedent, the verdict of the Paris Court of Appeals in the Mohammad Al-Durra trial, on 2008 May 21st, which adopts the argumentation, that the sole eye-witness Palestinian cameraman who shot the video in Gaza about Al-Durra, can not be regarded as fully reliable witness because the known threats of the Hamas regime on witnesses.
SECOND TAKE-A-PEN SUBMISSION:
In our Second Submission we provided the mission with material and hard evidence supporting our previous suspicions. The whole 2nd Submission - or SUPPLEMENTARY MEMORANDUM can be seen from the link below. This is an abstract of the 2nd Submission:
NEW EVIDENCE: Hamas Human Shields on IDF Aerial Maps - that TakeAPen Submitted to UN Mission
July 2009 - The 2nd, SUPPLEMENTARY MEMORANDUM submitted by Take-A-Pen (July 22) presents hard evidence to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, supporting the statement in TAP's original Memorandum to the UN (June 30): that Hamas deliberately committed the Human Shield war crime; systematically exposing Protected Civilian Objects (like school buildings, hospitals, a mosque, a football stadium etc.) to maximum lethal danger. We present further and analyze two detailed IDF aerial maps - Read this whole Supplementary MEMORANDUM
Using the evidence we submitted would have significantly changed the Mission's Report. For example, the Report states the Mission didn't see compelling evidence that Hamas used human shields - the aerial photos we provided prove it otherwise. And acknowledging that Hamas systematically used Human Shields, both civilian people and Protected Civilian Objects, would explain a large part of Palestinian civilian casualties; would clean them from Israel's responsibility and place them firmly on the list of Hamas War Crimes.
Therefore the Report must not be accepted by the HRC, or used now for any purpose, with its present crucial faults and omissions. None of us would accept that an electrician walk away from our house and the product be taken into operation without repairing dangerous major faults found.
So the Report must be immediately withdrawn and either totally cancelled, or thoroughly, honestly corrected, including full appropriate use (acceptance or argumented denial) of all the evidence we sent. A balanced external control mechanism must oversee the review process. Without such a review, corrections and proper application, the omission of Take-A-Pen's Submissions would look like as actively suppressed unwelcome evidence - and none of us wants that.
Endre Y. MOZES
Open Letter to UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon:
Hamas leadership to be brought to trial for War Crimes
endorsed by global Petition, signed by 80,000 people worldwide, as June 2009:
Mr Ban Ki-Moon
United Nations Thursday, January 8, 2009
The Honorable Secretary-General, Mr Ban Ki-moon!
Subject: Hamas leadership to be brought to trial for War Crimes
Your Excellency! We, the Take-A-Pen international public advocacy organization, request your decisive action regarding a severe case of war crimes.
In the recent years and in the present ongoing military conflict the Hamas terrorist organization ruling in Gaza has committed a large number of diverse war crimes, as defined by International Law.
The form of warfare the Hamas movement inflicted both on the Gaza population and on Israel has caused much suffering and heavy losses and damage both to Israel's civilian population and to the entire Gaza Strip. The Hamas regime has fired 6,300 rockets targeting Israeli civilians. In Gaza the Hamas stored rockets and other weaponry and ammunition primarily in residential areas; in houses, mosques, and schools. Thousands of rocket and mortar grenade attacks were launched from within these areas, obliging Israeli military response which inevitably led to great suffering of the population and damage to property.
According to International Law any source of fire on civilian targets is a legitimate target itself. If that source of fire was located among civilians it still remains a legitimate target; and if that vicinity invites fire in return, causing casualties among the local population, these casualties are the full and sole responsibility of the party placing them deliberately in harm's way. In this case Hamas is fully responsible both for the deliberately targeted Israeli civilian casualties and for the civilian casualties of its own population used by Hamas as a human shield.
Your Excellency, Mister Secretary General! We demand that the Hamas leadership be brought to international justice without delay, and tried for the following war crimes:
- Shooting rockets and grenades purposely on civilian targets in Israel.
- Shooting these rockets from within Palestinian civilian compounds such as schools or in close proximity of hospitals or residential buildings.
- Storing weapons and ammunition in schools, mosques, public offices and buildings and the sort.
- Regularly using their own civilians as human shield; particularly children, often forced to be in the most dangerous spots.
- During fighting with the Israeli forces the Hamas fighters, who wore uniforms at the beginning, changed to civilian clothing or IDF uniforms and continued to fight.
- Hamas fighters have routinely hid among civilians in hospitals
- To the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit, Hamas did not provide the most elementary rights of war prisoners, such as information given to the other side and Red Cross visits, rights Israel grants even to convicted Hamas terrorists.
- Children and minors were routinely used by Hamas for military tasks, both battle and auxiliary. The Hamas regime has also educated, indoctrinated and trained children and minors to murderous hatred, to will and techniques to kill.
- The Hamas leadership embezzled aid money received for the peaceful needs of Gaza's population and used these extensive funds for war efforts; weaponry, military equipment and constructions, and an enormous military build-up.
A failure to prosecute the Hamas leadership in International Court would, no doubt, lead to their war crimes growingly become normative behavior, and to more of the same humanitarian catastrophes, to millions of victims of oppression and killings undefended by the UN.
Mr Secretary General, we would appreciate your considered reply, which, with your permission, we would publish, along with this letter. We shall follow your relevant activities with great honor, high expectations, and deep moral support.
Endre Y. MOZES