Israel’s first real response to Goldstone

Over a year after Operation Cast Lead, the vindication of the IDF has finally begun.

Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Goldstone in Gaza 311 ap
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Over a year after Operation Cast Lead and following wide-rangingcriticism and countless international condemnations, the vindication ofthe IDF has finally begun.
The 500-page report revealed Monday by The Jerusalem Postand authored by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center isthe first real, aggressive Israeli response to the Goldstone Report,taking it apart piece-by-piece and explaining the true nature of theconflict against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
There are chapters on Hamas’s use of mosques, hospitals, ambulances andschools. There is an entire section dedicated to unmasking thePalestinian police force in the Gaza Strip, which the Goldstone Reportclaimed was a civilian force, saying Israel’s attacks against policemenwere unjustified.
There is another section dedicated to explaining the events that ledIsrael to launch Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, a period of timealmost completely ignored by judge Richard Goldstone and an issueillustrated most recently by the interview Col. Desmond Travers, theIrish officer who sat on the panel, gave in which he claimed only tworockets were fired into Israel in the month preceding the operation. Inreality, there were close to 200.
What is interesting about the Malam report is that it does not focus onthe IDF and the way it operated inside the Gaza Strip. Instead itfocuses strictly on Hamas, its tactics and the way it cynically usescivilians as well as civilian infrastructure to hide behind and launchattacks from within against Israel.
The results are astounding.
While Hamas’s use of mosques was known, the Malam report shows that itwas extensive and was a pillar of Hamas’s overall military doctrine(almost 100 mosques were used to store weapons and launch Kassams).While everyone has heard the story about how Hamas terror chiefs hid inthe basement of Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the Malam report revealsmaps of other hospitals which were surrounded by mines, Hamas militaryposts and tunnels.
While Malam and its head, Col. (res.) Reuven Erlich, should beapplauded for their work, the question that needs to be asked is why anon-profit organization run by former Military Intelligence officers isdoing what the Foreign Ministry, IDF Spokesman’s Office and PrimeMinister’s Office should have been doing immediately after the airforce launched its first missile into downtown Gaza City on the firstday of the operation.
The radio waves are full these days of commercials from PublicDiplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein’s new campaign to get regularIsraelis, during their travels abroad, to explain that they don’t ridecamels or eat only barbecued foods. Instead of wasting taxpayer’smoney, Edelstein’s budget should go to establishing an officialresponse team that will be responsible for writing such reports anddisseminating them to the media, not a year after the operation butrather as the fighting is still going on.
Until this happens, Israel has only itself to blame for the level of criticism it faces after every war and operation.
And if not for Erlich and his team of expert researchers, Israelwouldn’t even have the report that Malam released on Monday. Instead wewould be focused on camels and barbecues.