Fisking Goldstone’s Response to Berman: Whereas Clause #3

Part II of the fisking of Goldstone’s Response to Berman.

[Note: Justice Goldstone counts the descriptive paragraph as Paragraph 1. Therefore, “Paragraph 3” refers to Whereas 2 (and accordingly throughout his text).]

Whereas clause #3: “Whereas the mandate of the `fact-finding mission’ makes no mention of the relentless rocket and mortar attacks, which numbered in the thousands and spanned a period of eight years, by Hamas and other violent militant groups in Gaza against civilian targets in Israel, that necessitated Israel’s defensive measures;

[Goldstone:] “2. Paragraph 4: This is factually incorrect. Chapter XXIV of the Report considers in detail the relentless rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel and the terror it caused to the people living within their range. The finding is made that they constituted serious war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.”

[Berman Response]: Paragraph 4 [Whereas #3] of H.Res.867 is addressing the mandate, not the Report. It reads as follows: “Whereas the mandate of the ‘‘fact-finding mission’’ makes no mention of the relentless rocket and mortar attacks, which numbered in the thousands and spanned a period of eight years, by Hamas and other violent militant groups in Gaza against civilian targets in Israel, that necessitated Israel’s defensive measures”. That statement is an accurate characterization of both the formal mandate, as passed by the UNHRC, and of the broadened mandate requested by Justice Goldstone.

The Goldstone counterattack, misdirected at the text it claims is factually incorrect, suggests that it was not a sharp lawyer, accustomed to read texts carefully, who wrote this response. But there’s more. Consider the chapter to which Goldstone refers, XXIV of the Report.

It carefully restricts its treatment of “rocket and mortar fire from 18 June 2008 to 31 July 2009.” No discussion of the long previous years of rocket fire, no discussion of the way in which rocketing increased with the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, no discussion of how it increased still further when Hamas took over in 2006. So the entire framework of the Israeli response is occulted.

But even more striking, there’s no discussion of how the Israeli response came as a result of Hamas formally calling an end to the cease-fire on December 18 (6 months later) and again increasing rocket fire on Israel.

The chapter is mostly about Israeli suffering (peanuts compared to Palestinian), with some side digs on Israel not protecting its Arab population. Nothing on the way that this provoked an Israeli response which was very long in coming. So not only the does the mandate not take into account Hamas’ responsibilities for the violence, neither did the report, even the part to which Goldstone points with pride.

2 Responses to Fisking Goldstone’s Response to Berman: Whereas Clause #3

  1. harris says:

    One has to be careful which version of the report his or she is referring to.

    On your website you have a link to a version which I consider to be inofficial:

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/UNFFMGC_Report.pdf

    since on the UN homepage of the mission another version is linked:

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/FactFindingMission.htm

    http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/12session/A-HRC-12-48.pdf

    They are not identical and one can not attribute anything to an outdated version of that report.

  2. JD says:

    “The Goldstone counterattack, misdirected at the text it claims is factually incorrect, suggests that it was not a sharp lawyer, accustomed to read texts carefully, who wrote this response.”

    I respectfully disagree. It is a sharp trial lawyer who is getting fisked in a deep, intensive textual dissection.

    Good job.

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