COURAGEOUS TRUTH-TELLER: In praise of Gideon Levy

June 26, 2015

In Blog News

Another futile report on Israel’s wild adventure in Gaza

If in the wake of the latest UN commission, the international community does not take practical steps against war criminals, then there is no further reason for commissions.

By Gideon Levy | Jun. 25, 2015 | 4:22 AM
A medic helps a Palestinian in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, July 20, 2014.

 A medic helps a Palestinian in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, which was heavily shelled by Israel during fighting, in Gaza City July 20, 2014. Photo by Reuters

The United Nations Human Rights Council’s report did not tell us anything new. We did not need to wait a year to know that Israel (and Hamas) committed war crimes; there was no need to impanel a committee to know that Israel went wild in Gaza; there was no need to bother judge Mary McGowan Davis in order for her to tell us that it is unacceptable to drop a one-ton bomb in the middle of a neighborhood. We have known that for a long time.

The UN report also did not tell us anything new about Israel’s response. There was no need to publish it to know the scope of unreceptiveness and denial within Israeli society, the low level to which the Israeli media stooped in finally allowing itself to become an agent of propaganda, and the lack of interest that all this killing and destruction in Gaza arouse in Israel. We have known all that for a long time.

The world knows the fundamental truths, and every commission repeats them like a parrot, and nothing changes: Israel ignores international law. It is convinced that it applies to all countries, except for itself. According to its combat theory, when the life of one Israeli soldier is at stake it is alright to wreak havoc with everything, and when Israel says everything it means everything. There is no chance Israel will change its doctrine of death and destruction, unless it is punished severely. Therefore this report, like all its predecessors, has no value at all.

If the Goldstone Report, which described in harsher colors a less brutal attack, did not prevent Operation Protective Edge, then why do we need all these reports? If the international community, which knew in real time what the Israel Defense Forces was doing in Gaza, did not respond immediately with actions that would stop it, then there is no reason for these commissions of inquiry after the fact.

If in the wake of this commission, too, the international community does not take practical steps against war criminals, then there is no further reason for commissions. The next war; the next commission; the next Israeli attack on Gaza will certainly come, and it will be more vicious than the previous one, with McGowan Davis or without her.

Yesterday the American judge already mumbled: If Israel had only cooperated with her, then the conclusions would have been different. Your honor, are you hinting that your commission did not present the full truth? Would the testimony of a few of those injured by Qassams in Sderot have changed the picture? And is it even right to draw a comparison between a non-state organization, whose weapons are primitive and inaccurate, and the most sophisticated arsenal of weapons in the world which could have hit, or in principle not hit, to its heart’s desire?

But these pro-Israeli murmurings of the commission did not change, of course, the depth of the Israeli denial: IDF soldiers killed 500 children — and we are having a tea party. They killed 1,500 civilians — and here they are competing to see who will ignore it more.

Is the headline “hypocrisy report” stronger than the “report for terror rights,” in the media that does not have any information on what happened, not even false information, only false adjectives? And the height of it is: “Report with blood on its hands,” according to Naftali Bennett, a person who knows a thing or two about blood on the hands. True, these spasms point to the loss of the way, but they also won’t not prevent the next Shujaiyeh [a neighborhood in Gaza City that was especially battered during last summer’s war].

The report will be quickly forgotten. Gaza will once again remind us of its existence and its distress in the only way it has left, with the only weapon at its disposal, the weapons of war crimes.

Israel will once again act in the only way it knows how, a way which causes much more terrifying war crimes.

An Australian judge, a South African professor and a Belgian prosecutor will establish a commission of inquiry, Israel will once again boycott it and in Gaza thousands of bereaved families will once again sit under the ruins of their homes and wail helplessly at the international community, which was supposed to protect them — and instead it establishes commissions.