Wednesday, September 16, 2009

UN report on Gaza War claims Hamas didn't use human sheilds

VIDEO: Hamas praises civilians who volunteered as human shields in Gaza Conflict

by Becky Johnson
Sept 16, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- The United Nations Human Rights Council has released a new report on Israel's Gaza incursion last winter. While the report does condemn Hamas for firing rockets into sovereign Israel directly at civilian targets, most the report focuses on Israeli war crimes. Daniel Carmon, Israel's deputy UN Ambassador, has called the report "biased" and "one-sided." Even the title reflects that bias. "Human Rights in Palestine and Other Occupied Arab Territories: Report of the United Nations fact-finding mission on the Gaza Conflict." Words like "occupied Arab territories" assume ownership in what is actually disputed territories. Nor does the report seem to care about human rights in Israel evenly, as reflected by the title.

The investigation was led by South African judge, Richard Goldstone. Goldstone said Israel's blockade of Gaza, which began prior to the assault, amounted to "collective punishment" for the 1.5 million Gazans, most of whom rely on aid to survive." The summary said Israel's operation was directed at the people of Gaza as a whole, not just Hamas militants. And that Israel committed “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions.

Setting aside for the moment that the population of Gaza is really 1.1 million people, the report claims that "there is evidence indicating serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law were committed by Israel during the Gaza conflict, and that Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, and possibly crimes against humanity." One of the claims that Israel made during the conflict was that Hamas was using civilians as "human shields." The report claims they couldn't find a single instance of that happening. In the video above, Hamas praises women, children, and old men for serving as human shields even unto death.

HONEST REPORTING has challenged this report and has issued a list of the following errors in the report.

  • Israel did not deliberately target the civilian population of Gaza and, in fact, made efforts to prevent civilian casualties that no other army in the world would have done.
  • Contrary to the assertions of Goldstone, Hamas did use Palestinian civilians as human shields.
  • The Goldstone Report is not objective and is, in fact tainted by bias and politicization, both from the UN Human Rights Council and members of the mission itself.
  • The report relied upon the contributions of anti-Israel non-governmental organizations and unreliable Palestinian "eyewitnesses."
  • Israel respects human rights and has a sophisticated legal and judicial system. Hamas does not. Yet the report has created an unjust equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization.

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