Jerusalem – Officials in Jerusalem are mobilizing for battle in an attempt to undermine the standing of the UN report on “Israel’s crimes in Gaza,” with the hope that it will not come before the UN Security Council or the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

Despite a certain criticism of Hamas, the report deals mainly with “proof of significant violations of international human rights law that Israel committed in the Gaza war, and possibly crimes against humanity as well.” Experts in Israel who examined the work of the commission and followed the recorded testimonies published on the UN web site, say that the commission members chose not to make things difficult for the witnesses.

“I listened closely to the testimonies, but also to the questions of the commission members,” explained Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “the commission members didn’t try to confront them with other information that they held. They were asked questions that were irrelevant to clarifying the facts of whether war crimes were committed or not.”

For example, Dahoah-Halevi relates, in the case of the attack on the mosque in the town Beit Lahiya, the commission members asked many questions on the prayer arrangements, but did not ask even a single question on the presence of armed men or weapons at the site. The Goldstone report admits that it identified “reluctance” by the witnesses to deliver information on the activity of terrorist elements within armed [sic] areas. The report states that it is unable to determine the reason for this “reluctance,” but notes that it could not discount the possibility that “the interviewees’ reluctance may have stemmed from a fear of reprisals.”

The commission approached the Hamas government and requested details on the activity of the organization’s activity in populated sites from which rockets were fired. The response of the Hamas government, however, was: We have no data. However, the report determines that the fire constitutes “a deliberate attack against the civilian population.

These actions would constitute war crimes and may amount to crimes against humanity.” This sparked great anger on the part of Hamas.

“Resistance is a legitimate right that is anchored in international law,” said Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum.

Israeli President Shimon Peres also rallied yesterday for the Israeli attack against the report.

“The Goldstone report makes a mockery of history, and fails to distinguish between aggressor and defender,” the president said, attaacking the author of the report. “He would not have written this if his children lived in Sderot and experienced the terror of the rockets there.” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “the report is a drumhead court martial, the outcome of which was known in advance, and it makes it difficult for democratic countries to fight terror.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who is currently in New York, has already initiated talks with senior members of the US administration and Congress on the report, and is expected to meet with US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, with the aim of recruiting her to the battle against having the report reach the UN Security Council.

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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