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Friday, June 26, 2015

Richard Kemp, "The U.N.’s Gaza Report Is Flawed and Dangerous": Exposing the Bias of Mary McGowan Davis and the Times Editorial Board



In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "The U.N.’s Gaza Report Is Flawed and Dangerous," Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, exposes the United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza for what it is: tendentious trash commissioned to vilify Israel. Colonel Kemp writes (my emphasis in blue):

"The report is characterized by a lack of understanding of warfare. That is hardly surprising. Judge [Mary McGowan] Davis admitted, when I testified before her in February, that the commission, though investigating a war, had no military expertise. Perhaps that is why no attempt has been made to judge Israeli military operations against the practices of other armies. Without such international benchmarks, the report’s findings are meaningless.

The commission could have listened to Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said last November that the I.D.F. [Israel Defense Forces] had taken extraordinary measures to try to limit civilian casualties. Or to a group of 11 senior military officers from seven nations, including the United States, Germany, Spain and Australia, who also investigated the Gaza conflict recently. I was a member of that group, and our report, made available to Judge Davis, said: 'None of us is aware of any army that takes such extensive measures as did the I.D.F. last summer to protect the lives of the civilian population.'

The report acknowledges that Israel took steps to warn of imminent attacks but suggests more should have been done to minimize civilian casualties. Yet it offers no opinion about what additional measures Israel could have taken. It even criticizes Israel for using harmless explosive devices — the 'knock on the roof' — as a final warning to evacuate targeted buildings, suggesting that it created confusion. No other country uses roof-knocks, a munition developed by Israel as part of a series of I.D.F. warning procedures, including text messages, phone calls and leaflet drops, that are known to have saved many Palestinian lives.

Judge Davis suggests that the I.D.F.’s use of air, tank and artillery fire in populated areas may constitute a war crime and recommends further international legal restrictions on their use. Yet these same systems were used extensively by American and British forces in similar circumstances in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are often vital in saving the lives of our own soldiers, and their curtailment would jeopardize military effectiveness while handing an advantage to our enemies."

Now compare Colonel Kemp's conclusions with those of The New York Times in a June 23 editorial entitled "War Crimes and the Gaza War" (my emphasis in red):

"The report is expected to serve as the basis for a fuller investigation into possible war crimes by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. It is unrealistic to expect Hamas, which the United States and other countries consider a terrorist group, to comply with international law or police itself. But Israel has a duty, and should have the desire, to adjust its military policies to avoid civilian casualties and hold those who failed to do so accountable."

Yes, the New York Times is every bit as biased and ignorant as the panel responsible for preparing the United Nations Gaza report. Needless to say, the Times failed to mention how the UNHRC, ever since it came into being, has consistently singled out Israel for censure. As observed by UN Watch:

"In the nine years of its existence, the UN Human Rights Council has condemned Israel more times than the rest of the world combined, revealed UN Watch today, ahead of a new report to be released by the Geneva-based NGO that documents endemic selectivity and politicization at the world body.

The outcome resolution for the latest Gaza report, to be introduced at the UNHRC this week by the Palestinians together with the Arab and Islamic states, will condemn Israel exclusively, and will mark the 62nd resolution targeting Israel since the new and improved Council was created in 2006 -- while the total of all other UNHRC condemnatory resolutions for the rest of the world amounts to 55, with most of the worst violators given a free pass, if not a seat on the council itself."

One can only wonder why the Times allowed Colonel Kemp to rebut its vacuous editorial.

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