NI+OTHING will ease Goldstone he chose not to hear - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • PETER SM
    • 04.02.10 | 11:18 (IST)

    The Goldstone Illusion What the U.N. report gets wrong about Gaza -- and war by Moshe HALBERTAL Moshe Halbertal is a professor of philosophy at the Hebrew University and the Gruss Professor at New York University School of Law. http://www.tnr.com/article/world/the-goldstone-illusion --". Since the early 1990s, the nature of the military conflict facing Israel has been dramatically shifting. What was mainly a clash between states and armies has turned into a clash between a state and paramilitary terror organizations, Hamas in the south and Hezbollah in the north. This new form of struggle is now called ?asymmetrical war.? It is defined by an attempt on the part of those groups to erase two basic features of war: the front and the uniform. Hamas militants fight without military uniforms, in ordinary and undistinguishing civilian garb, taking shelter among their own civilian population; and they attack Israeli civilians wherever they are, intentionally and indiscriminately. During the Gaza operation, for example, some Hamas militants embedded in the civilian population did not carry weapons while moving from one position to another. Arms and ammunition had been pre-positioned for them and stored in different houses. In addressing this vexing issue, the Goldstone Report uses a rather strange formulation: ?While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of the Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from the civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from the attack.? The reader of such a sentence might well wonder what its author means. Did Hamas militants not wear their uniforms because they were inconveniently at the laundry? What other reasons for wearing civilian clothes could they have had, if not for deliberately sheltering themselves among the civilians? As for the new ?front? in asymmetrical warfare, we read in another passage, which is typical of the report?s overall biased tone, that, ?On the basis of the information it gathered, the Mission finds that there are indications that Palestinian armed groups launched rockets from urban areas. The Mission has not been able to obtain any direct evidence that this was done with the specific intent of shielding the rocket launchers from counterstrikes by the Israeli armed forces.? What reason could there possibly be for launching rockets from urban centers, if not shielding those rockets from counterattack? And what is the moral distinction that is purportedly being established here? By disguising themselves as civilians and by attacking civilians with no uniforms and with no front, these paramilitary terrorist organizations attempt nothing less than to erase the distinction between combatants and noncombatants on both sides of the struggle. "--

    from the article: U.S.: Easing Gaza siege would help counter Goldstone
    First published 02:32 04.02.10 | Last updated 19:09 07.02.10
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