The big problem with the polemic published in the July 24th Cape Times (Voices growing in numbers to support Gaza innocents) is its sources, none of which is independent and all of which has shown disproportionate bias towards Israel in their previous faux determinations.
From 18th – 22nd May 2015, a High Level International Military Group, made up of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals, senior officers, political leaders and officials from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Holland, Spain, Italy, Australia and Colombia visited Israel for a fact-finding mission on the 2014 Gaza conflict. It was led by General Klaus Naumann, former Chief of Staff of the Bundeswehr and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, the most senior officer in the Alliance, and Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy. Also in the group were Ambassador Pierre-Richard Prosper, formerly US State Department Ambassador at Large for war crimes issues; and Mr Rafael Bardaji, former National Security Adviser to the Government of Spain.
This was part of a longer term, international project, into how civilian lives can be protected and military forces can fight effectively when operations must be conducted in a densely packed civilian area.
In particular their brief was to look into allegations that the IDF lacked restraint or even deliberately targeted innocent civilians. Here are extracts from their findings:
“Our findings lead us to the opposite conclusion. We examined the circumstances that led to the tragic conflict last summer and are in no doubt that this was not a war that Israel wanted. In reality Israel sought to avoid the conflict and exercised great restraint over a period of months before the war when its citizens were targeted by sporadic rocket attacks from Gaza.”
“Once the war had begun, Israel made repeated efforts to terminate the fighting. The war that Israel was eventually compelled to fight against Hamas and other Gaza extremists was a legitimate war, necessary to defend its citizens and its territory against sustained attack from beyond its borders.”
“In the main Hamas’s rocket attacks deliberately and indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilian population centres in the south of the country… Hamas deliberately fired missiles at Ben Gurion International Airport, disrupting and threatening international civil air traffic. There is no doubt that all of these attacks constitute war crimes.”
“Hamas also constructed an array of tunnels, using materials diverted from humanitarian supplies, which penetrated the border between Gaza and Israel, in many cases emerging close to civilian communities…likely intended to eventually bore into the kibbutz itself. We can only conclude that these tunnels were designed, at least in part, to attack, kill and abduct Israeli civilians. This again constitutes a war crime.”
“Hamas launched attacks against Israel from the heart of its own civilian communities in Gaza and positioned its munitions and military forces there also, including in schools, hospitals and mosques. As well as carefully documented IDF evidence of this, we have viewed international media footage confirming several cases and are aware of senior Hamas officials’ own claims to have used human shields. A recent report by the UN Secretary General confirmed that in some cases Hamas even used UN facilities for storing munitions and launching attacks. Again, these actions clearly amount to war crimes…we are not aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the IDF last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population in such circumstances.”
“…in general Israeli forces acted proportionately as required by the laws of armed conflict and often went beyond the required legal principles of proportionality, necessity and discrimination.”
There is much more, of course and anyone wishing to read the entire report will find it at http://bit.ly/1L86jux. I think that the minuscule numbers disproportionately unrepresentative of the SA Jewish population, who disgracefully lent their names to such unbalanced comment, should open their minds to the true situation.