Israel, not Hamas, is responsible for the “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza. Goldstone was right when he charged that Israel was guilty of war crimes against civilians..

Simon Wiesenthal Centre response

The Goldstone Report on Israel’s defensive war against Hamas-controlled Gaza, from which 8,000 rockets were fired after Israel’s unilateral withdrawal in 2005, is a biased product of the UN’s misnamed Human Rights Council. The UNHRC is obsessed with false anti-Israel resolutions. It refuses to address grievous human rights abuses in Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Cuba and beyond.

Faced with similar attacks, every UN member-state, including the U.S. and Canada would surely have acted more aggressively than the IDF did in Gaza.

Yet, Richard Goldstone, a South African Jewish jurist, signed a document prepared by investigators whose main qualification was rabid anti-Israel bias. He accepted every anonymous libel against the IDF. And he insisted that hearings in Gaza be televised, guaranteeing that fearful Palestinians would never testify about Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields and their hiding of weapons in mosques and hospitals. Harvard Professor, Alan Dershowitz denounced Goldstone’s Report as a modern “blood libel,” accusing Israeli soldiers of crimes they never committed.

Comment

Biases in the United Nations Human Rights Council continue to be documented, with over half of all accepted resolutions relating to the state of Israel. In the past year, the council has endorsed 21 sanctions against Israel and only four sanctions against any other nation in the world1.

The lie that Israel is the cause of humanitarian crises in Gaza continues to be propagated and was particularly prominent in the media during the 2014 ground assault of Gaza by Israeli troops. This is a selection of quotes made at the time of the war to illustrate the point: “The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction;” “Israel’s behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts;” “We … cannot keep silent while this crime against humanity continues.”2

Yet there is always another side to the coin. Israel’s apparent attack of schools and hospitals in Gaza has not been unprovoked: “UN Relief and Works Agency has condemned the storage of [Hamas] rockets in its schools on two separate occasions. Similarly, the World Medical Association ‘unreservedly condemned those who are abusing health facilities by using them as shelters for soldiers or weapons’”.3

Despite ongoing rocket attacks from the Palestinians, Israel reports providing significant support to the humanitarian crisis faced by the Palestinians. The following quote from the President of the Israeli Medical Association and the Director General of the Israeli Ministry of Health shows the extent of support3.

“Since the beginning of the current conflict, 1,515 trucks entered Gaza from Israel, 4.44 million litres of diesel were delivered to the power station, and 57 infrastructural repairs were carried out. On July 27, 170 trucks were scheduled to enter, but the crossing was forced to close because of Hamas’ activity in the area. The 94 trucks that entered, delivered, among other things, 1,165 tonnes of food, 600 tonnes of agricultural supplies, and 6 tonnes of medical supplies.

At any time, hundreds of Palestinians are being treated in Israeli hospitals, including Hamas leader’s relatives. In 2013, for example, 225,410 medical permits were issued to Palestinians in the West Bank and 13,734 to Gazans. Despite frequent claims that Israel turns away ambulances carrying people in desperate need of medical services, in 2013, of the 1,189 ambulances that requested permits, only one was refused. During the present conflict, Israel has airlifted wounded Gazans to its hospitals, including a 16 year old who was among those involved in an infiltration attempt of Israel.

In addition, over 1,200 Syrians injured during the bloodshed in Syria have and continue to be treated in Israeli hospitals, returning to Syria once they are healed. In order to help those Gazans that cannot reach Israel for care, Israel set up a field hospital on the border with a full range of services, including an emergency room, ambulatory services, and a delivery room, but Hamas continues to prevent Gazans from making their way there.

Hamas leaders have also refused the offers of blood, humanitarian aid, and medical care that Israel has offered. The Israeli army also runs an advanced trauma life support course for Palestinian physicians in the West Bank in order to help them better serve the local population.”

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is a complex issue, yet it is clear that the cause is not simply Israel. Western media is easily diverted to the controversial situation in Gaza, yet in the sense of humanitarian crises, there are many similar situations around the world which pass unmentioned. Yet God hears the cry of the poor, and their deliverance will be a defining feature of His Son’s reign. As Psalm 72:12–14 says, “For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”

To be continued

References:

  1. ‘Many Jews are asking whether they have a future in Europe’–Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on the rise of anti-Semitism, The Australian, October 7th 2014.
  2. An open letter for the people in Gaza; The Lancet, Vol 384 August 2 2014
  3. Israel-Gaza Conflict; The Lancet, Vol 384 August 23 2014