Thank you, Mr. President.
I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.
Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.
Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents. The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian presumption by many in the international media, and international human rights groups, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights.
Video - “IDF Did More to Safeguard Civilians Than Any Army in History of Warfare”
Delivered by Col. Richard Kemp
At the UN Human Rights Council, 12th Session
Debate on Goldstone Report
Geneva, October 16, 2009
The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy's hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks. Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes. More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians.
Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets. And I say this again: the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare. Thank you, Mr. President.
Israeli National News Interview with Palestinian Justice Minister Ali Al-Khashan who stated; “We do not have any Documentation for the Israeli Crimes”.
Israeli National News – “A Palestinian Authority official has admitted that while the PA has been urging the International Criminal Court (ICC) to pursue war crimes charges against IDF troops, the only evidence the PA has been able to supply is the Goldstone panel's report, which was approved by the United Nations Human Rights Commission last week. PA Justice Minister Ali Al-Khashan said Saturday that anyone expecting quick action by the court on the alleged Israeli war crimes needed to "have patience," because "we do not have any documentation for the Israeli crimes." He said that the PA was hoping to join the ICC in order to more easily pursue cases against Israel, and that such membership would give the PA "the ability to confront with peaceful follow-up the revelation of Israeli war crimes."
"The Goldstone Report set out mechanisms [leading to the prosecution of Israeli war criminals], and the Human Rights Council set out mechanisms that clarified those steps," Al-Khasham said. "Now the PA is carrying out those steps." In order to join the Court, the PA must adopt the Rome Statute, which forms the basis in international law for the ICC. In order to become a member of the court, nations or entities (such as the PA) must agree to allow the Court to prosecute its citizens, and to voluntarily turn them over to international authorities for trial and punishment.”