Hundreds of armed bombers from country A executed thousands of bombing sorties on the capital and on additional important cities of country B. Most of them harmed the civilian population, the governmental institutions and the food and water infrastructure. The armored corps and the infantry invaded the heart of the enemy cities. It was difficult to distinguish between the enemy soldier and the citizen. Most of the soldiers wore and took off their uniforms from time to time, depending on the proximity of the invading forces. One minute they fired and the next they were innocent civilians.
The combined attack was a strong reaction to the continued violent activities of the enemy. Millions of people were killed, others were severely wounded. Famine prevailed in the conquered territories. The retreating soldiers were violently pursued. The enormous firepower attained its goal. The enemy surrendered. Its unruly behavior was stopped. The area was quiet.
A year passed. The UN established a committee to examine the conduct of the war. From the outset, the mandate given the committee determined that it was to investigate the conduct of the victors. But it was predetermined that they used excessive force. They killed citizens. They destroyed infrastructure. Everything was clear to the investigators in advance. Who the criminals are, what the crimes are. What remained for them to do was to match the testimonies to the verdict, to distort a little, to be a little inaccurate, to exaggerate a little and perhaps even a great deal. The main thing was to prove the guilt of the side that was guilty in advance.
The days - not those of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza but those at the end of World War II. The bombed country - Germany. The bombers and the invaders - the Allied forces. The investigation committee with a mandate such as Richard Goldstone's would apparently have determined that there was excessive use of force by the Allied forces. Excessive injury to the civilians and damage to the water, electricity and food infrastructure.
Perhaps they were not similar things. But it was clear in Kosovo. Great force was used against non-military fighters. Rightfully, the attacking Serbs were brought to the court in The Hague and not the European and American defenders. Not those who returned fire but those who opened it, without reason, without logic. There was no Goldstone committee there.
Also in Afghanistan they do not accuse those fighting terror, but the terrorists. There it is also clear, there is no investigation committee with a strange mandate. The same applies to Iraq.
ONLY HERE, with us, it is different.
Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, dismantled the settlements, evacuated the settlers by force and spent billions of dollars. The area was given to a different government. A terror organization overthrew the government by force, expelled its heads (those who did not succeed in fleeing, were thrown from the rooftops) and took control of the area. Yes there is a paragraph on this in the committee's report but conclusions - none.
The State of Israel, like every other country in the UN, is obliged to defend the lives of its citizens. It tried to pass messages to the regime in Gaza and the response was a snicker. It tried to respond by targeted firing at areas without civilians, and the response was more and more missiles and rockets on heavily populated areas. Finally we were coerced into using force against armed militias without uniforms, against rocket-launchers from within schools, against mortar firers from nursing homes, against terrorists whose only wish was to kill.
Israel absorbed thousands of missiles before it acted. There is no country which would have abandoned its citizens this way. But with us, morality comes above all. Soldiers were wounded because of their extreme carefulness. Israeli lives were endangered to guard Palestinian civilians.
The campaign in Gaza ended. The Palestinians paid a heavy price. We are sorry about the loss of lives but the responsibility lies on those who opened fire, on those who decided to play with the lives of citizens to achieve God knows what. In fact, to achieve nothing.
Since then, there has been quiet in the region. There has been no firing on Israeli citizens. The nightmare is over. And suddenly, a so-called investigation committee appears. A committee whose conclusions were already written in the mandate given to it; a committee which turned the victim into the attacker; a committee whose conclusions encourage terror; a committee whose recommendations are likely to bring about the renewal of firing on Israeli citizens.
A committee, which by virtue of its common sense would perhaps have accused the Warsaw Ghetto uprisers of using excessive force.
The writer serves as an adviser to President Shimon Peres.