Problems with the Goldstone Report

The UN report on Gaza, known as the Goldstone report, after the mission’s chief, South African Judge, Richard Goldstone, has come under withering criticism by those who have read it.  The report is an unbalanced condemnation of  the Israeli military operation to put an end to rocket fire directed against Israeli towns by terrorists operating in Hamas-run Gaza. Scrutiny of the report has exposed numerous falsehoods and a unremitting bias. Several more examples are discussed here. (The UN report will be referred to as the Goldstone report for the rest of this article.)
 
Uncritically accepts casualty statistics already proven unreliable
 
The Goldstone report uncritically casualty statistics provided by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Ma’an, B’Tselem as sources for casualty statistics. It ignores published analyses that exposed numerous errors and statistical anomalies in the data provided by these sources. Only figures provided by the Israeli government are criticized. The report states “…counter claims published by the Government of Israel fall far short of  International Law standards.”
 
 
Falsely charges Israel with reducing aid to Gaza after the fighting
 
Section 72 of the Goldstone report states:
The Mission acknowledges that the supply of humanitarian goods, particularly foodstuffs, allowed into Gaza by Israel temporarily increased during the military operations. The level of goods allowed into Gaza before the military operations, however, was insufficient to meet the needs of the population even before hostilities started, and has again decreased after the end of the military operations.
This claim is contradicted by humanitarian aid delivery data provided in a recently released document published by the Israeli Ministry of  Foreign Affairs,  Supporting Palestinian Capacity Building: Israel’s Efforts in Supporting the Palestinian Economy, Civil Affairs and Security Reforms
 
 
 
Advocates for organizations hostile to Israel
 
The Goldstone report takes the side of various non-governmental organizations with clear bias against Israel. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem relentlessly condemn Israel in lengthy reports and through media publicity. The accusations levelled by these groups have on numerous occasions unravelled under scrutiny.
 
 
 
Speaks for the Palestinians
 
In at least one instance the report speaks in the voice of Gazan officials who deny they target Israeli civilians. Section 1668 of the Goldstone report begins by quoting Hamas government authorities in Gaza as having
“nothing to do, directly or indirectly with al-Qassam or other resistance factions…”
It then continues without quotation marks,
While noting that weaponry used by armed factions was not accurate, the Gaza authorities discouraged the targeting of civilians.
 
Undoubtedly as the Goldstone report is subject to further scrutiny more errors of  fact, omission and bias, large and small, will be exposed. Details of the above faults are provided below.

 
Uncritical acceptance of casualty statistics already proven unreliable
 
The Goldstone report uncritically repeats casualty statistics provided by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Ma’an, and B’Tselem. It ignores published analyses that exposed numerous errors and statistical anomalies in the data provided by these sources. Only figures provided by the Israeli government are subject to criticism. The report states “…counter claims published by the Government of Israel fall far short of  International Law standards.”
 
In fact,  separate analyses of the figures cited by the report have exposed a pattern of mis-classification of combatants as civilians. 
 
CAMERA and International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (IDC) have each produced analyses exposing example after example of  Palestinian classified as civilians by PCHR who were later identified as combatants in official announcements by armed groups.
 
Journalists have also revealed examples of misclassification. For example, a PCHR entry on Jan. 7, 2009 states:
At approximately 08:30, IOF tanks shelled a number of civilian houses in al-‘Atatra area in the northwest of Beit Lahia town killing ‘Abdul Karim Rafeeq Hassan, 21 and Bilal ‘Abdul Hadi ‘Ali, 19.
Yet an article appearig in Der Spiegel on Jan. 23, 2009 quotes a Palestinian who states that two Hamas fighters were killed in his home. He  names Bilal ‘Ali as one of them.
 
A JCPA analysis by Jonathan Halevi identifies over  90 percent of the policemen killed in the first day as belonging to armed groups. This directly contradicts paragraph 1720 of the report which states:
The mission report also concludes that Israel, by deliberately attacking police stations and killing large numbers of policemen ( 99 in the incidents investigated by the Mission ) during the first minutes of the military operations, failed to respect the principle of proportionality between the military advantage anticipated by killing some policemen who might be members of Palestinian armed groups and the loss of civilian life (the majority of policemen and members of the public present in the police stations or nearby during the attack).
The Goldstone report accepts as a founding premise that a large proportion of those killed were civilians. But a CAMERA analysis determined that out of 1285 fatalities reported in PCHR weekly reports, no less than 950 were males aged 15 or higher. While males over age 15 make up approximately 25 percent of the Gaza population, they made up over 74 percent of the fatalities.
IDC’s statistical analysis of PCHR’s data shows peak numbers among young men in their late teens and early 20s. Furthermore, there is a sharp discrepancy between the number of adolescent boys and adolescent girls. These anomalies all indicate that Israeli targeting was not indiscriminate and suggest that many of those listed as civilians were combatants.
 

Falsely charges Israel with reducing aid to Gaza after the fighting
 
Section 72 of the Goldstone report states:
The Mission acknowledges that the supply of humanitarian goods, particularly foodstuffs, allowed into Gaza by Israel temporarily increased during the military operations. The level of goods allowed into Gaza before the military operations, however, was insufficient to meet the needs of the population even before hostilities started, and has again decreased after the end of the military operations.
This claim is contradicted by a recently released document by the Israeli Ministry of  Foreign Affairs,  Supporting Palestinian Capacity Building: Israel’s Efforts in Supporting the Palestinian Economy, Civil Affairs and Security Reforms ,which tabulates the volume of supplies provided by Israel in the past year.  According to this document,  Israel provided 17,050 truck loads of humanitarian supplies to Gaza from January through June 2009. This is 53 percent more than the comparable period a year earlier, which say 11,172 truck loads.  The weekly number of humanitarian aid shipments has increased from 104 during Nov. to Dec. 2008 prior to the fighting, to 511 during the fighting to 638 since the fighting ended on Jan. 18, 2009.
 

< SPAN style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt; TEXT-DECORATION: underline">Advocates for organizations hostile to Israel
 
The Goldstone report takes the side of various non-governmental organizations with a well established record of siding with the Palestinians and leveling unsubstantiated accusations against Israel. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch relentlessly condemn Israel in lengthy reports and through media publicity. The attention these two international organizations pay to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is vastly disproportionate to the limited human toll in comparison to numerous other conflicts in the world.  The Goldstone reports states in section 1804:
The Mission is concerned about the near total exclusion of the media and human rights monitors from Gaza since Nov. 5, 2008…. The Mission is very concerned that groups such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and B’Tselem continue to be denied access. The Mission can see no viable reason for this denial of access. 
One organization, Human Rights Watch, recently conducted fund-raising in Saudi Arabia, employs a veteran anti-Israel agitator to write reports on Israel and utilizes the service of an avid Nazi memorabilia collector as a military expert to accuse Israel of war crimes.  While Israel’s decision to deny them access may be arguable, that does not justify denying the problematic history between these organizations and Israel.
 
In at least one instance the report transitions from quoting denials by Palestinian officials of involvement in terrorism to stating these denials in its own voice. Section 1668 of the Goldstone report begins by quoting Hamas government authorities in Gaza as stating

that they had “nothing to do, directly or indirectly, with al-Qassam or other resistance factions” and stated that they were able to exercise a degree of persuasion over the armed factions in relation to proposed ceasefires.

It then continues without quotation marks,

While noting that the weaponry used by the armed factions was not accurate, the Gaza authorities discouraged the targeting of civilians.
While the beginning of the statement clearly indicates that this is the claim of the Gazan authorities, the next sentence eliminates the quotes and simply states these assertions as fact. 
 
Undoubtedly as the Goldstone report is subject to further scrutiny more errors of  fact, omission and bias, large and small, will be exposed.