The Goldstone Report and the Gaza Truce

In a recent interview [PDF] with the Middle East Monitor, Colonel Desmond Travers, retired from the Irish Army — best known as one of the members of the U.N. commission that produced the Goldstone report — attracted attention for his statement that “the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding their operations was something like two.” Critics of the Goldstone report like Commentary’s David Hazony and Evelyn Gordon have seized on the comment as proof that Travers and the rest of the Goldstone commission are irredeemably biased against Israel; Gordon cites figures [PDF] from the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center showing that over 300 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza during the month of December 2008. (Operation Cast Lead began on Dec. 27.)

As Jerry Haber notes, however, these criticisms are based on a simple misunderstanding. In fact, the “operations” that Travers refers do not commence with the start of Operation Cast Lead on Dec. 27, but rather with Operation Double Challenge on Nov. 4. Double Challenge was an IDF incursion into Gaza that left six Palestinians dead, ending months of calm; because the operation came only a day of the U.S. presidential elections, it vanished without a trace in the U.S. media. Paul Woodward explains that the ceasefire was, in fact, functioning quite well until the Israelis broke it on Nov. 4; only after the IDF raid did the number of rocket attacks increase.

Therefore, when Travers speaks of “the month preceding their operations,” he is referring not to December but to October 2008. And how many rockets were fired into Israel in October? According to the very figures [PDF, p. 6] that Gordon cites against Travers, only one. (According to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there were two rockets fired in October, and twelve in the four-month stretch from July through October.)

The fact that the ceasefire was actually working quite well in preventing rocket fire into southern Israel is one reason that we should be skeptical of the claim that Israel had no choice but to use military force to prevent the rocket attacks. (This is not, of course, to deny that the rocket attacks constituted war crimes in their own right.) If Israel’s primary goal were simply to end the rocket attacks, it could have worked to maintain the ceasefire (or better still, lifted the siege of Gaza). Why, then, did Israel choose to violate it instead? I suspect that the Israeli government, wary of the incoming Obama administration, believed that the blank check it enjoyed during the Bush years was coming to an end, and was determined to make one last sustained effort to root out the Hamas government before it did.

4 thoughts on “The Goldstone Report and the Gaza Truce”

  1. Facts, evidence, entailed conclusions, clarity, blah blah blah. When you're on the right side of history you don't need these ridiculous crutches to portray the truth. Hamas is the unjustified and unjustifiable aggressor, Israel the aggrieved victim, always. When you understand how this works you'll see the futility of bringing reason to bear on what's right or wrong.

  2. Israel is an insane country. Their vicious lying, their paranoiac hatred of all of their neighbors, their racist disregard for any lives other than their own are all manifestations of a deeply sociopathic mindset. It is time to call for the dismantlement of this state before these radical nationalistic Jews do themselves and the World serious harm. At least, we should call for disarming them of weapons of mass destruction because they will use them without a doubt.

  3. I don't care how many rockets were fired. When Obama and others state the US would not sit still if rockets were fired from Mexico they show how stupid they are. Our embassy in Baghdad is hit all the time, but few Americans would find it okay if we flattened half of Baghdad and killed thousands to stop a few rockets or mortars. Also, when Pancho Villa "invaded" out of Mexico we went after him, not the whole population of Mexico.

  4. The phrase, "Being of Sound Thoughts and Body", is important in the making of a Will that's binding. When you die and not using a will, it's called Intestate and the courtroom will step in to guard the minor youngsters and appoint a court docket guardian. Liza's Eyeview

Comments are closed.