The biggest war crime of all is causing a war in the first place and that is precisely what Hamas is guilty of. Hamas is entirely responsible for every single Palestinian death that occurred during Operation Cast Lead because their unrelenting attacks are what caused Israel to go to war to defend itself and because they chose to conduct hostilities in urban areas while surrounded by civilian populations.
Operation Cast Lead would simply not have happened if Hamas hadn’t constantly killed and maimed Israelis for years, especially civilians. Israel tried to stop the carnage with every means at it’s disposal prior to attacking Gaza. It really had no other choice as it was absolutely clear that nothing else would work. All things considered Israel showed remarkable restraint in waiting so long to reply with force and in trying to resolve the problem through non-violent means. Very few, if any, other countries would have done so, including countries on the U.N. Security Council and the U.N. Human Rights Council.
Israel also showed remarkable restraint during the three weeks of fighting. The vast majority of Palestinian dead were Hamas fighters. Any others who died did so as a direct result of the Hamas strategy of embedding itself in the civilian population, using civilians as human shields, firing weapons from schools and hospitals, storing weapons in mosques and so on i.e. asymetrical warfare. Israel went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and succeeded for the most part. There is no doubt that the Israeli Defence Force could have killed far more people than it did. It should be commended for keeping civilian casualties to a minimum despite the conditions it had to fight in and the methods it used should be studied in military academies everywhere.
The Goldstone Report is the latest in a long line of United Nations reports which villify Israel and all things Israeli, bear little or no resemblance to reality, are shallow and superficial in the extreme, absolve Palestinians of any blame or responsibility for anything and excuse or justify whatever they do, no matter how nauseating or odious. Goldstone’s report is so biased, one-sided and generally flawed that it is laughable and no objective, impartial observer could possibly take it seriously or give it any credence.
Nevertheless, a great deal of time and energy will have to be spent to refute it. Hopefully these efforts will be successful, particularly those directed toward the Americans. The last thing Israel needs now is for President Obama to use the report as an excuse to dither or equivocate in his support or to use it as some sort of hammer or bargaining chip, which wouldn’t be beyond him at all.