Thursday, July 30, 2009

Israeli report--no surprise--argues that its war was proportionate and respected humanitarian law

With the UN investigation headed by Richard Goldstone poised to release its report [in August], the new Israeli document is obviously intended to dampen Goldstone's impact. While the report refers to ongoing investigations of Israeli actions stemming from the war, the tone of narrative suggests that Israeli soldiers and officers will likely be absolved of any serious charges.

While the report avows Israel's deep respect for humanitarian law and Israel's regret for civilians' suffering, Israel's actions since the war ended would seem to undermine its claims.

For instance, Israel's systematic destruction of irrigation systems and agricultural wells in parts of Gaza indicates that one purpose of Israeli policy is to undermine Gazan's ability to sustain more than a subsistence economy at best.

The treatment of the 2008 ceasefire is revealing because it blames Hamas for ending the ceasefire, but says nothing about Israeli actions in November 2008 that effectively ended the ceasefire. These actions are explicitly noted in a report released by the Israeli Foreign Ministry (follow link here).

In short, those of you who have been following events closely will find no particular surprises here, but the report does offer Israel's official version of events.

Update: "Nothing to hide" IDF shuns Rabbis for Human Rights and their push for an independent inquiry into Gaza war actions.

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