Sunday, November 08, 2009

On Goldstone's asymmetrical obtuseness

Moshe Halbertal, an Israeli philosophy professor who was involved in formulating the IDF ethics code, presents a serious analysis of the Goldstone report. In the opening paragraphs he rather scathingly notes that Goldstone can't bring himself to admit that Hamas practices asymmetrical warfare:
[...] This new form of struggle is now called “asymmetrical war.” It is defined by an attempt on the part of those groups to erase two basic features of war: the front and the uniform. Hamas militants fight without military uniforms, in ordinary and undistinguishing civilian garb, taking shelter among their own civilian population; and they attack Israeli civilians wherever they are, intentionally and indiscriminately. During the Gaza operation, for example, some Hamas militants embedded in the civilian population did not carry weapons while moving from one position to another. Arms and ammunition had been pre-positioned for them and stored in different houses.

In addressing this vexing issue, the Goldstone Report uses a rather strange formulation: “While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of the Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from the civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from the attack.” The reader of such a sentence might well wonder what its author means. Did Hamas militants not wear their uniforms because they were inconveniently at the laundry? What other reasons for wearing civilian clothes could they have had, if not for deliberately sheltering themselves among the civilians? [...]
Read the rest, needless to say. (h/t: Yaacov Lozowick)

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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