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Extracts from the Executive Summary of the Goldstone report.

The full Goldstone report (actually the result of a Fact Finding Mission) comprises of 565 pages of which there are 60 or so pages of an executive summary. The following are a selection, under various headings, of verbatim extracts from the latter, (numbered according to the Executive summary paragraphs).  These may help in conversation or letter writing to MP’s Government etc. P.S. My few notes are all in italics. (Roy)

On the Mission’s United Nations mandate: 
“..to investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law… in the context of the military operations that were conducted in Gaza during the period from 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, whether before, during or after.” (From Paragraph 1)

From the Introduction.
“On 8 June 2009 the Mission issued a call for submissions inviting all interested persons and organizations to submit relevant information and documentation to assist in the implementation of its mandate.” (From Para 6)

 “Public hearings were held in Gaza on 28 and 29 June and in Geneva on 6 and 7 July 2009. The Mission repeatedly sought to obtain the cooperation of the Government of Israel. After numerous attempts had failed, the Mission sought and obtained the assistance of the Government of Egypt to enable it to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. ….the Mission held meetings with senior members of the Gaza authorities and they extended their full cooperation and support to the Mission.” (From Para 7)

“The Mission conducted 188 individual interviews. It reviewed more than 300 reports, submissions and other documentation either researched of its own motion, received in reply to its call for submissions and notes verbales or provided during meetings or otherwise, amounting to more than 10,000 pages, over 30 videos and 1,200 photographs.” (From Para 19)

“…the Government of Israel prevented it (the mission - RR) from meeting Israeli government officials, but also from travelling to Israel to meet with Israeli victims and to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian Authority representatives and Palestinian victims.” (From Para 20.)

On the prior blockade of Gaza.
“The blockade comprises measures such as restrictions on the goods that can be imported into Gaza and the closure of border crossings for people, goods and services, sometimes for days, including cuts on the provision of fuel and electricity. Gaza’s economy is further severely affected by the reduction of the fishing zone open to the Palestinian fishermen and the establishment of a “buffer zone” along the border between Gaza and Israel which reduces the land available for agriculture and industrial activity. In addition to creating an emergency situation, the blockade significantly weakened the capacities of the population and of the health, water and other public sectors to react to the emergency created by the military operations. (From Para 27)

On Casualties.
“Statistics about Palestinians who lost their life during the military operations vary. Based on extensive field research, non-governmental organizations place the overall number of persons killed between 1,387 and 1,417. The Gaza authorities report 1,444 fatal casualties. The Government of Israel provides a figure of 1,166.” (From Para 30).

“According to the Government of Israel, during the military operations there were 4 Israeli fatal casualties in southern Israel, of whom 3 were civilians and one soldier, killed by rockets and mortars attacks by Palestinian armed groups. In addition, 9 Israeli soldiers were killed during the fighting inside the Gaza strip, 4 of whom as a result of friendly fire.” (From Para 31)

On attacks on buildings in Gaza.
“On the information available to it, the Mission finds that the attacks on these buildings constituted deliberate attacks on civilian objects in violation of the rule of customary international humanitarian law whereby attacks must be strictly limited to military objectives. These facts further indicate the commission of the grave breach of extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.” (From Para 32)

 On obligations to protect civilians.
“The Mission examined whether and to what extent the Palestinian armed groups violated their obligation to exercise care and take feasible precautions to protect the civilian population in Gaza from the inherent dangers of the military operations. The Mission found no evidence, however, to suggest that Palestinian armed groups either directed civilians to areas where attacks were being launched or that they forced civilians to remain within the vicinity of the attacks.” (From Para 35)

“The Mission did not find any evidence to support the allegations that hospital facilities were used by the Gaza authorities or by Palestinian armed groups to shield military activities and that ambulances were used to transport combatants or for other military purposes. On the basis of its own investigations and the statements by UN officials, the Mission excludes that Palestinian armed groups engaged in combat activities from UN facilities that were used as shelters during the military operations.” (From Para 36)

“The Mission concludes that Israeli armed forces violated the customary international law requirement to take all feasible precautions in the choice of means and method of attack with a view to avoiding and in any event minimizing incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.” (From Para 38)

“The Mission also finds that, on the same day, the Israeli forces directly and intentionally attacked the Al Quds Hospital in Gaza City and the adjacent ambulance depot with white phosphorous shells. The attack caused fires which took a whole day to extinguish and caused panic among the sick and wounded who had to be evacuated. The Mission finds that no warning was given at any point of an imminent strike. On the basis of its investigation, the Mission rejects the allegation that fire was directed at Israeli forces from within the hospital.” (From Para 39)

The Mission considers thus the attack to have been indiscriminate in violation of international law, and to have violated the right to life of the Palestinian civilians killed in these incidents.” (From Para 42)

On deliberate attacks against the civilian population.
“The Mission investigated eleven incidents in which Israeli forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome (Chapter XI). The cases examined in this part of the report are, with one exception, all cases in which the facts indicate no justifiable military objective pursued by the attack. The first two incidents are attacks against houses in the Samouni neighbourhood south of Gaza City, including the shelling of a house in which Palestinian civilians had been forced to assemble by the Israeli forces. The following group of seven incidents concern the shooting of civilians while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and, in some of the cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so.” (From Para 43)

“From the facts ascertained in all the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and as such give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.” (From Para 46)

“The last incident concerns the launch of a bomb on a house resulting in the killing of 22 family members. Israel’s position in this case is that there was an “operational error” and that the intended target was a neighbouring house storing weapons. On the basis of its investigation, the Mission expresses significant doubts about the Israeli authorities’ account of the incident. The Mission concludes that, if indeed a mistake was made, there could not be said to be a case of wilful killing. State responsibility of Israel for an internationally wrongful act, however, would remain.” (From Para 47)

On the use of certain weapons.
“Based on its investigation of incidents involving the use of certain weapons such as white phosphorous and flechette missiles, the Mission, while accepting that white phosphorous is not at this stage proscribed under international law, finds that the Israeli armed forces were systematically reckless in determining its use in built-up areas.” (From Para 48)

On attacking the foundations of civilian life.
“From the facts it ascertained, the Mission finds that there has been a violation of the grave breaches provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Unlawful and wanton destruction which is not justified by military necessity amounts to a war crime. The Mission also finds that the destruction of the mill was carried out for the purposes of denying sustenance to the civilian population, which is a violation of customary international law and may constitute a war crime. The strike on the flour mill further constitutes a violation of human rights provisions regarding the right to adequate food and means of subsistence.” (From Para 50)

“Israeli forces also carried out a strike against a wall of one of the raw sewage lagoons of the Gaza Waste Water Treatment Plant, which caused the outflow of more than 200,000 cubic metres of raw sewage into neighbouring farmland. The circumstances of the strike on the lagoon suggest that it was deliberate and premeditated. The Namar Wells complex in Jabalya consisted of two water wells, pumping machines, a generator, fuel storage, a reservoir chlorination unit, buildings and related equipment. All were destroyed by multiple air strikes on the first day of the Israeli aerial attack.” (From Para 52)
,“..the Mission concludes that, in addition to the extensive destruction of housing for so-called “operational necessity” during their advance, the Israeli forces engaged in another wave of systematic destruction of civilian buildings during the last three days of their presence in Gaza, aware of the imminence of withdrawal. The conduct of the Israeli forces in this respect violated the principle of distinction between civilian and military objects and amounted to the grave breach of “extensive destruction … of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”. Israeli forces further violated the right to adequate housing of the families concerned.” (From Para 53)

“The attacks on industrial facilities, food production and water infrastructure investigated by the Mission are part of a broader pattern of destruction, which includes the destruction of the only cement packaging plant in Gaza (the Atta Abu Jubbah plant), the Abu Eida factories for ready-mix concrete, further chicken farms and the Al Wadia Group’s foods and drinks factories. The facts ascertained by the Mission indicate that there was a deliberate and systematic policy on the part of the Israeli armed forces to target industrial sites and water installations.” (From Para 54)

On the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields
“The Mission concludes that this practice amounts to the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields and is therefore prohibited by international humanitarian law. It puts the right to life of the civilians at risk in an arbitrary and unlawful manner and constitutes cruel and inhuman treatment. The use of human shields also is a war crime. The Palestinian men used as human shields were questioned under threat of death or injury to extract information about Hamas, Palestinian combatants and tunnels. This constitutes a further violation of international humanitarian law.” (From Para 55)

On the deprivation of liberty:
“From the facts gathered, the Mission finds that there were numerous violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law committed in the context of these detentions. Civilians, including women and children, were detained in degrading conditions, deprived of food, water and access to sanitary facilities, and exposed to the elements in January without any shelter. The men were handcuffed, blindfolded and repeatedly made to strip, sometimes naked, at different stages of their detention.” (From Para 57)

“The Mission concludes that the treatment of these civilians constitutes the infliction of a collective penalty on those persons and amounts to measures of intimidation and terror. Such acts are grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and constitute a war crime.” (From Para 60)

On Israel’s military Objectives.
“Taking into account the ability to plan, the means to execute plans with the most developed technology available, and statements by the Israeli military that almost no errors occurred, the Mission finds that the incidents and patterns of events considered in the report are the result of deliberate planning and policy decisions.” (From Para 61)
“The tactics used by Israeli military armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with previous practices, most recently during the Lebanon war in 2006. A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine emerged then, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations.” (From Para 62)

On the overall impact in Gaza.
“As a result of the razing of farmland and destruction of greenhouses, food insecurity is expected to further worsen in spite of the increased quantities of food items allowed into Gaza since the beginning of the military operations. Dependence on food assistance increases. Levels of stunting and thinness in children and of anaemia prevalence in children and pregnant women were worrying already before the military operations. The hardship caused by the extensive destruction of shelter (UNDP reported 3,354 houses completely destroyed and 11,112 partially damaged) and resulting displacement particularly affects children and women. In the water and sanitation sector, the destruction of infrastructure (such as the destruction of the Namar wells and the attack against the water treatment plant described in Chapter XIII), aggravated the preexisting situation. Already before the military operations, 80 percent of the water supplied in Gaza did not meet the WHO’s standards for drinking water. The discharge of untreated or partially treated waste water into the sea is a further health hazard worsened by the military operations.” (From Para 67)

“…the Mission believes that Israel has violated its obligation to allow free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital objects, food and clothing (article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention). The Mission also finds that Israel violated specific obligations it has as Occupying Power spelled out in the Fourth Geneva Convention, such as the duty to maintain medical and hospital establishments and services and to agree to relief schemes if the occupied territory is not well supplied.” (From Para 72)

“The Mission also concludes that in the destruction by Israeli armed forces of private residential houses, water wells, water tanks, agricultural land and greenhouses there was a specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance to the population of the Gaza Strip. The Mission finds that Israel violated its duty to respect the right of the Gaza population to an adequate standard of living, including access to adequate food, water and housing. The Mission moreover finds violations of specific human rights provisions protecting the rights of children, particularly those who are victims of armed conflict, women and the disabled.” (From Para73.)

On the 'hiding' of Gilad Shalit.
“The Mission finds that such actions constitute serious violations of human rights and are not consistent with either the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Palestinian Basic Law.” (From Para 80)

On the occupied Palestinian Territory: the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
“Eye-witnesses also reported to the Mission the use of sniper fire in the context of crowd control. Witnesses spoke of the markedly different atmosphere they encountered in the confrontation with the soldiers and border police during demonstrations in which all checks and balances had been removed. Several witnesses told the Mission that during the operation in Gaza, the sense in the West Bank was one of a “free for all”, where anything was permitted.” (From Para 84)
“Little if any action is taken by Israeli authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish violence against Palestinians by settlers and members of security forces, including killings, resulting in a situation of impunity. The Mission concludes that Israel has failed to fulfil its obligations to protect the Palestinians from violence by private individuals under both international human rights law and international humanitarian law.” (From Para 85)

On the detention of Palestinians in Israeli prisons.
During the Israeli military operations in Gaza, the number of children detained by Israel increased compared to the same period in 2008. Many children were reportedly arrested on the street and/or during demonstrations in the West Bank during the Gaza operations. Numbers of child detainees continued to be high in the months following the end of the operations, accompanied by reports of abuses by Israeli security forces.” (89.)

On Palestinian Rockets.
“…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 amongst the Israeli civilian population, a violation of international law.” (From Para108)

On the repression of dissent in Israel.
“The Mission received reports that individuals and groups, viewed as sources of criticism of Israel’s military operations were subjected to repression or attempted repression by the Government of Israel. Amidst a high level of support for the Israeli military operations in Gaza from the Israeli Jewish population, there were also widespread protests against the military operations inside Israel. Hundreds of thousands – mainly, but not exclusively, Palestinian citizens of Israel – protested.” (From Para111.)

The Mission notes with concern the reported instances of physical violence against protesters committed by members of the police, including the beating of protester and other inappropriate conduct by the police including subjected Palestinian citizens of Israel who were arrested to racial abuse and making sexual comments about female members of their families. Article 10 of the ICCPR requires that those deprived of their liberty be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.” (From Para 112.)

“Of protesters brought before the Israeli courts, it was the Palestinian Israelis who were disproportionately held in detention pending trial. The element of discrimination and differential treatment between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel by judicial authorities, as indicated in the reports received, is a substantial cause for concern.” (From Para 113.)

“The interviews of political activists by the Israeli General Security Services were cited as the actions contributing most significantly to a climate of repression inside Israel. The Mission is concerned about activists being compelled to attend interviews with Shabak, in the absence of any legal obligation to do so, and in general at the alleged interrogation of political activists about their political activities. (From Para 114.)

“The Mission received reports concerning the investigation by the Government of Israel into New Profile on allegations that it was inciting draft-dodging, a criminal offence, and reports that the government was seeking to terminate funding from foreign governments for Breaking the Silence, following the group’s publication of testimonies of Israeli soldiers concerning the conduct of Israeli military forces in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009. The Mission is concerned that the Government of Israel’s action with regard to these organizations may have an intimidating effect on other Israeli human rights organizations.” (From Para 115.)

“The Mission observes that Israel, in its actions against political activists, NGOs and the media, has attempted to reduce public scrutiny of its conduct both during its military operations in Gaza and the consequences that these operations had for the residents of Gaza, possibly seeking to prevent investigation and public reporting thereon.” (From Para 116.)

On Accountability.
“In the context of increasing unwillingness on the part of Israel to open criminal investigations that comply with international standards the Mission supports the reliance on universal jurisdiction as an avenue for States to investigate violations of the grave breach provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, prevent impunity and promote international Accountability.” (From Para127.)

Conclusions.
“The Mission then makes recommendations to a number of United Nations bodies, Israel, responsible Palestinian authorities and the international community, in the areas of: (i) Accountability for serious violations of International Humanitarian Law; (b) Reparations; (c) Serious violations of human rights law; (d) The blockade and reconstruction; (e) The use of weapons and military procedures; (f) The protection of human rights organizations and defenders ; (g) Follow up to the Mission’s recommendations.“ (From Para 130).

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These seven pages of selected extracts (from 560 plus pages) obviously leave out much, but I hope they give a flavour of the content of this damning report.  Only dealing with the December/January 2009, Blitzkrieg of Gaza, it leaves out the picture of the last 60 years of so of Israeli oppression and slow genocide. However, the Goldstone ‘Mission’ report does reveal that the Genocidal intent of the Zionist colonial enterprise is still as vicious as it was during the Nakba of 1948.

(Roy October 2009).