Latest update: March 20th, 2013
The UN’s Goldstone Commission report on the Israeli army’s behavior in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead is a mockery of history.
The report, issued last week, fails to distinguish between the aggressor and a state exercising its right of self-defense.
War itself is a crime. The aggressor is the criminal. The side exercising self-defense has no other alternative.
The Hamas terrorist organization has instigated war and perpetrated other horrible crimes. For years Hamas carried out attacks against the children of Israel, sending suicide bombers into city centers, injuring and killing civilians. And Hamas fired over 12,000 rockets and mortar shells at towns and villages with one clear aim – to kill innocent men, women and children.
The Goldstone report legitimizes terrorist activity, the pursuit of murder and death. The report disregards the duty and right of self-defense held by every sovereign state as enshrined in the UN Charter.
Israel withdrew all of its troops and settlers from the Gaza Strip, opened the border crossings and actively supported its reconstruction. The Israeli presence in Gaza was terminated.
But after Israel completed its redeployment from Gaza, a murderous and illegitimate terror group violently revolted against the legitimate Fatah leadership, overthrowing it by force.
Hamas operatives murdered Fatah leaders, at times throwing them from rooftops in broad daylight.
While Hamas continued firing, Israel employed, time and time again, diplomatic channels – including many appeals to the UN – in an attempt to bring about a cessation of rocket fire.
To repeat: Israel redeployed and terminated its presence in Gaza. Hamas responded with incessant rocket fire aimed at killing children, women, and other innocent civilians.
Instead of building Gaza and caring for the welfare of its citizens, Hamas built tunnels to attack Israel, cruelly using children and innocent Palestinians to hide terrorists and ammunition.
Hamas terrorists built rocket-launching pads and storage facilities near schools and in mosques and even kindergartens. They booby-trapped urban neighborhoods and used Palestinian children as human shields.
The State of Israel was forced to defend itself. It acted out of obligation to its citizens, like any other state in the family of nations would – and should.
Israel has been criticized for its actions against Hizbullah attacks from Lebanon and Hamas attacks from the Gaza Strip, as well as for building the security barrier in the West Bank to prevent suicide bombers from entering the country.
This criticism did not stop the rockets from hitting the South and the North, nor did it stop terrorists from blowing themselves up in our central cities.
Meanwhile, IDF operations have enabled economic prosperity in the West Bank, relieved southern Lebanese citizens from the terror of Hizbullah and allowed Gazans to live normal lives again.
Those in pursuit of peace have justice on their side. Those who monger war will forever be criminals.
Members of the Goldstone Commission would have never compiled such a report if their children resided in Sderot and suffered the terrorism of daily rocket fire.
About the Author: Shimon Peres is the president of Israel.
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