Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
The main military analyst for the Goldstone Report, Col. Desmond Travers, claimed that Hamas fired only two rockets at Israel in the month prior to Operation Cast Lead, in an interview he gave this month to the Middle East Monitor.
Travers, who is from Ireland, was one of the four members of the United Nation’s fact finding mission to Gaza, which produced the Goldstone Report in September 2009. The mission’s chief investigator was former South African jurist Richard Goldstone.
The report, which Israel has rejected, concluded that Israel may have committed war crimes during its military incursion into Gaza from December 27, 2008-January 21, 2009.
On Wednesday, former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations and current head of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Dore Gold, a known critic of the Goldstone Report, held a Jerusalem press conference specifically to address Travers’ contribution to the report, as well as comments he has made to the media.
Gold charged that Travers was unprofessional, “fundamentally biased” against the IDF and that some of his statements had “anti-Semitic overtones.” Travers’ participation, Gold said, “raises serious questions about the reliability of the whole military analysis in the [Goldstone] report.”
“He cannot be an analyst on any military issue and should not be employed by the United Nations,” said Gold.
At the press conference he handed out copies of Travers’ interview with the Middle East Monitor, in which Travers stated, “It should be borne in mind that the number of rockets that had been fired into Israel in the month preceding their operations was something like two. The Hamas rockets had ceased being fired into Israel, and not only that, but Hamas sought a continuation of the cease-fire.”
Gold said that according to Israeli military sources there were 32 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel between the 16th and 18th of December alone.
During the interview Travers also said he did not believe that Hamas had stored weapons in Gaza mosques.
“No self-respecting insurgent with abundant hideaways in the labyrinthine alleyways of Gaza would dare store anything in an open building like a mosque. ...Of the several photographs that were on an Israeli Web site that I examined showing weapons and munitions ‘found in mosques,’ I found all of these photographs to be spurious,” said Travers.
During the press conference Gold showed a clip that he took from interviews the four-member commission conducted with witnesses and experts in preparation for the report that is posted on the web.
Gold took issue with this comment Travers made when addressing British officers: “Britain’s foreign policy interests in the Middle East seem to be influenced strongly by Jewish lobbyists.”
Gold said that this charge had “anti-Semitic overtones.”
“I would expect that Judge Richard Goldstone should repudiate Col.
Travers and completely reject the conclusions he reached as the result
of Travers’ work,” added Gold.