Did Richard Goldstone hide more sinister crimes in Gaza - 4
by Peter Eyre on 10 Nov 2009 0 Comment

It would be hard not to pass comment on the situation in West Bank as that clearly became part of the Missions remit. I must say in passing that the war crimes carried out during Cast Lead were solely a Gaza Strip issue. We have to accept that Palestinians in general all became victim of Israeli’s aggression, but one cannot compare living in West Bank to living in Gaza. So let’s sidetrack for one moment and look at the situation in and around West Bank.  

On of the biggest issues besides the blockade is the grotesque wall that splits so many communities up in the West Bank. All of this in clear violation of the United Nations…not as that makes any difference to the Israelis!
The report talks about “Restrictions on freedom of movement in West Bank.”


In Paragraph 92 the report states that Israel has long imposed a system of movement restrictions. Movement is restricted by a combination of physical obstacles such as roadblocks, checkpoints and the Wall, but also through administrative measures such as identity cards, permits, assigned residence, laws on family reunification, and policies on the right to enter from abroad and the right of return for refugees. Palestinians are denied access to areas expropriated for the building of the Wall and its infrastructure, for use by settlements, buffer zones, military bases and military training zones, and the roads built to connect these places. Many of these roads are “Israeli only” and forbidden for Palestinian use. Tens of thousands of Palestinians today are subject to a “travel ban” imposed by Israel, preventing them from travelling abroad. A number of witnesses and experts invited by the Mission to meet in Amman and participate in the hearings in Geneva could not meet with the Mission due to this travel ban.


One can clearly see the pure arrogance of Israel towards the United Nations and the fact that they would not let the Mission go to Israel and blatantly refused to participate in the investigation. The fact that they also stopped key witnesses from going to Jordan was also in total defiance of the UN. We see this time and time again whereby Israel refuses to accept any resolution passed against it and is backed by the US who Veto any move that addresses these issues. One would be foolish to believe that the United Nations General Assembly had any power to discipline Israel for these gross acts of aggressive defiance.


The Goldstone report does not give reference to the fact that almost two thirds of the West Bank is under occupation and total Israeli control. Israelis are stealing Palestinian natural resources with a further potential to explore and exploit the potential oil/gas deposits in the rift/faultline area between the eastern aspect of West Bank and the border of Jordan.


Exploration further south (outside of West Bank) is starting to show pleasing results in the discovery of oil and gas. It is common for areas with such high geological activity to be rich in natural resources (as seen in the Gaza offshore area). The report clearly points a finger at Israel for its history of intimidation and the ongoing blockade, but says nothing about the rape of Palestinian natural resources which UN has been aware of for some considerable time.  


Paragraph 95 draws reference to the Israeli building programme in the West Bank despite the strongest of warnings from the UN and from President Obama…


The report highlights: Israel’s Ministry of Housing and Planning is planning a further 73,000 settlement homes to be built in the West Bank. The building of 15,000 of these homes has already been approved and, if all plans are realized, the number of settlers in the occupied Palestinian territory will be doubled. Can we in the west ever understand how deeply this distresses the Palestinians and how this out of control building programme makes the very words “Peace Talks” sound so totally distant? Can we understand the hatred that emanates out of this blatant act of aggression? Can we understand why the Palestinians take up arms from time to time to fight off this malignant cancerous growth? This “New Israel” has never been theirs for the taking but rather stolen from them.


I would like to go back into the weapons used by the Israelis and draw attention to the Missions remit which clearly stated the following:

-         Site visits to specific locations in Gaza where incidents had occurred

-         The analysis of video and photographic images, including satellite imagery

-         The review of medical reports about injuries to victims;

-         The forensic analysis of weapons and ammunition remnants collected at incident sites


Independent munitions experts have already evaluated photographs of exploding Missiles, Bombs and Shells and concluded that many of these explosions were not conventional weapons and indicated weapons that contained Uranium. My question would be that if they had viewed the same photographs and if “Forensic analysis” had been carried out, why didn’t they also find DU/EU. Samples that were returned to the UK and tested at Harwell certainly revealed the presence of both DU and EU… I guess the UN used the same format as they did on other investigations: “If you don’t look you don’t find”


It was extremely interesting to read some comments by Col Desmond Travers (UN Team in Gaza) in response to questions during any interview by Ken Silverstein:


-         “Critics have also said that Hamas deliberately inserted its fighters among civilians and that doing so increased the civilian toll. Did you find that to be the case?”


“We found no evidence that Hamas used civilians as hostages. I had expected to find such evidence but did not. We also found no evidence that mosques were used to store munitions. Those charges reflect Western perceptions in some quarters that Islam is a violent religion. Gaza is densely populated and has a labyrinth of makeshift shanties and a system of tunnels and bunkers. If I were a Hamas operative the last place I’d store munitions would be in a mosque. It’s not secure, is very visible, and would probably be pre-targeted by Israeli surveillance. There are a many better places to store munitions. We investigated two destroyed mosques - one where worshippers were killed - and we found no evidence that either was used as anything but a place of worship”.


-         “What is your view of the claim by Israeli officials that the IDF is the most “moral” army in the world”?

“Given the tactics, the weapons used, and the indiscriminate targeting, I think this is a dubious claim”.


-         What other issues do you think need to be addressed”?

“We were disturbed by the lethality and toxicity of weapons used in Gaza, some of which have been in Western arsenals since the Cold War, such as white phosphorous, which incinerated 14 people, including several children in one attack; flechettes, small darts that are designed to tumble upon entering human flesh in order to cause maximum damage, strictly in breach of the Geneva Convention; and highly carcinogenic tungsten shrapnel and DIME munitions, which contain tungsten in powder form. There is also a whole cocktail of other problematic munitions suspected to have been used.”


I would like to just stop there for one moment and read the admittance of Flechettes and “Highly Carcinogenic Tungsten” – DIME munitions which Col Travers states are strictly in breach of the Geneva Convention.” Note also the reference to a whole cocktail of other problematic munitions… could this be DU/EU he his referring too?


Col Travers continued by saying: “There are a number of other post-conflict issues in Gaza that need to be addressed. The land is dying. There are toxic deposits from all the munitions that have been dropped. There are serious issues with water - its depletion and its contamination. There is a high instance of nitrates in the soil that is especially dangerous to children. If these issues are not addressed, Gaza may not even be habitable by World Health Organization norms.”… [Is the reference to toxic deposits from munitions…could this again be DU/EU?]


During another interview with the Irish Times Col Travers said:

“We were extremely disappointed… [the deferral] came as a great shock to us,” Col Travers told The Irish Times yesterday. “Justice deferred is justice denied.” His next comment was also very interesting when you compare them with those of the illustrious Hillary Clinton who thought it was better to delay this report until March 2010 in order to allow the peace talks to go ahead! Col Travers thought otherwise - “You cannot have a peace process unless you acknowledge war crimes.”

The colonel drew attention to weapons and munitions used by Israel during the conflict, including white phosphorous, flechettes – finned darts, thousands of which are packed into tank shells and released at high speed – and heavy metal shrapnel: “I recommend those weapons and munitions mentioned in the report should now be examined by independent bodies in order to determine their appropriateness as weapons even in theatres of war.”

He stressed the damage to Gaza’s soil, sewage, air and water systems should be addressed immediately. “This environmental damage is now at crisis point, and if not addressed by the international community as a matter of urgency, will have serious effects on the quality of life of [Gaza’s] citizens – especially that of its children.” He recommended the monitoring of those injured by heavy metal shrapnel for complications arising from the carcinogenic effects of such metals. Col Travers said the UN team advised the blockade on Gaza be lifted “in its entirety”


Peter Eyre, a former British Naval officer, worked at NATO headquarters, and spent a lot of time in the Middle East and South East Asia as a petroleum consultant; he lives in the UK and writes regularly for the Palestine Telegraph

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