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Goldstone Report: 575 pages of NGO “cut and paste”

September 16, 2009
  1. The 575-page Goldstone report is primarily based on NGO statements, publications, and submissions (70 references each for B’Tselem and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, and more than 30 for Al-Haq  and Human Rights Watch).  In its analysis of NGO submissions and testimony, NGO Monitor found numerous false and unsubstantiated allegations. Nevertheless, the Goldstone committee simply copied the NGO biases, flawed methodology, and false claims, rendering the entire report invalid.
  2. Goldstone’s press conference in New York and the report’s recommendations constitute another step in the Durban Strategy, crystallized at the 2001 NGO Forum, using the language of human rights and international law as weapons in the political war to isolate and demonize Israel, and restrict legitimate responses to terror.
  3. Still no “human shields” in Gaza.  Following HRW and Amnesty, paragraph 495 ignores evidence that contradicts Goldstone’s predetermined conclusions: “Although the situations investigated by the Mission did not establish the use of mosques for military purposes or to shield military activities, the Mission cannot exclude that this might have occurred in other cases.”
  4. The report copies NGO distortions of international law, including:
    • Promotion of the false legal claim invented by the PLO Negotiation Affairs Department (and promoted by NGOs such as B’tselem, HRW, Amnesty) that Gaza remains “occupied” after the 2005 disengagement (p. 9).  The political objective of this distortion is to manufacture humanitarian obligations that do not exist under international law. (The ICRC, in contrast, had acknowledged that Gaza is an “autonomous territory.” However, after the release of the Goldstone report, the ICRC changed its website to promote the biased conclusion of the Mission.)
    • The classification of the Gaza police force as “civilian” (paras. 33-34) even though independent studies have shown that more than ninety percent were members of Hamas’ military wing and active combatants. 
    • The claim that under the Geneva Convention (para 28) Israel has a duty to supply food to Gazans.  No such duty exists and the Commission does not cite to any specific provision of the Convention to support its claim.  For more on NGO distortions of international law regarding Gaza, see NGO Monitor’s report on the topic.
    • Paragraph 493 claims that the failure of armed Palestinian groups “to distinguish themselves from the civilian population by distinctive signs is not a violation of international law in itself.”  This is patently false.  The adoption of civilian dress is a violation of the IHL obligation against perfidy
  5. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Goldstone’s report asserts that the “data provided by non-governmental sources with regard to the percentage of civilians among those killed are generally consistent …” (para. 30).  There is no such “consistency” -- the numbers claimed by these organizations differ by the hundreds. Goldstone also fails to note the major lack of credibility in PCHR’s data, such as characterizing two leading Hamas military figures, Nizar Rayan and Siad Siam, as civilians. And as researchers have shown, the B’Tselem data, while different from PCHR’s, is also unreliable.
  6. Prior to the report’s release, Goldstone made several public statements that the Commission’s work was “not judicial. This is not a court.” (This claim was used to defend Prof. Christine Chinkin’s membership on the committee, who should have recused herself because of prejudicial comments made during the war.)  In contrast, the report draws legal conclusions, asserting (without basis) that “the normative framework for the Mission has been general international law, the Charter of the United Nations, international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international criminal law” (para 15).  But these legal judgments are issued without any evidentiary procedures in place, including the right to cross-examination or guarantees of due process.


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