Wednesday, December 16, 2015

BDS lies when it calls brave IDF soldiers 'war criminals' - Barry Shaw

by Barry Shaw

And now there is proof.

BDS lies when they call our brave soldiers “war criminals” and accuse the IDF of “war crimes.” So let me introduce non-Israel, non-Jewish neutral experts to give their opinion.

The High Level Military Group, 14 international former chiefs of staff and senior military officers reviewed the 2014 Gaza conflict from both the IDF and Hamas operations.

They visited Israel both during and after the conflict. They interviewed soldiers from the regular foot soldiers to unit commanders all the way up to the highest ranks of the IDF. In their fact finding missions they also spoke with military intelligence personnel.

While conducting in-depth analysis into Operation Protective Edge they received unprecedented access to the IDF and to government officials up to the Prime Minister that, together with their impeccable military expertise, enabled them to produce a fair and factual report, which they released in early December 2015.

They began by admitting that Israel’s military efforts were entirely necessary and justified in the defense of Israel’s national security as a result of the aggressive and offensive operations conducted against Israeli civilian centers by Hamas and their other terror affiliates in support of Palestinian Hamas actions initiated against Israel.

Their conclusions solidly stated,
“Israel’s conduct in the 2014 Gaza Conflict met and in some respects exceeded the highest standards we set for our own nation’s militaries.”
They went on,
“It is our view that Israel fought an exemplary campaign, adequately conceived with appropriately limited objectives, displaying both a very high level of operational capability as well as a total commitment to the Laws of Armed Conflict.”
To emphasize the point, the report states,
“The IDF not only met its obligations under the Law of Armed Conflict, but often exceeded these on the battlefield at significant tactical costs, as well as in the humanitarian relief efforts that accompanied its operation.”
Additionally highlighting the conduct of the IDF and the Israeli soldier the report recorded that,
“Where the high standards of conduct the IDF sets for its personnel have not been met incidents are investigated, including criminal investigations, through an independent mechanism under the oversight of the democratic institutions of the State of Israel. This mechanism clearly meets the requirements of legal recourse, judicial independence and democratic oversight that our own nations set for ourselves.”
The team of overseas military experts reported on Hamas thus,
“Hamas not only flagrantly disregarded the Law of Armed Conflict as a matter of course as part of its terrorist-army hybrid strategic concept, but rather it abused the very protections afforded by the law for military advantage. It embedded its entire military machinery in civilian locations and sensitive sites, including those of the United Nations.
Hamas indiscriminately targeted Israeli civilians throughout the conflict with extensive rocket fire and willfully sought to draw the IDF into battle in a prepared urban stronghold amid the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, for which it located its operational headquarters in Gaza’s main hospital.”
All these are war crimes.

The notable military staffers who researched and investigated the conflict included;

Colonel Richard Kemp; Former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan. He also served in Iraq, the Balkans, South Asia and Northern Ireland. He led the international terrorism team at the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee and served as Chairman of the strategic intelligence group for COBRA, UK’s national crisis management committee.

General Klaus Dieter Naumann; Former Chief of Staff of the German Armed Forces and served as Chairman of the NATO Military Committee from 1996 to 1999.

General Vincenzo Camporini; Former Italian Chief of Defense. He later served as Chief of Staff of the Italian Air Force as well as Chief of Defense General Staff.

Lt. General David A. Deptula; Former three-star general in the US Air Force. He was the principal attack planner for the Desert Storm coalition air campaign in 1991 and served as Director of the Combined Air Operations Center in Afghanistan and as first Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance at Air Force Headquarters.

Admiral Jose Maria Teran; Serves in the Office of Strategic Assessment of the Spanish Defense Minister and Former Chief of Joint Staff and Chief of the Strategic Analysis Group.

Major-General Andrew James Molan served as the Chief of Operations for the HQ Multinational Force in Iraq. Former Commander of the Australian Defense College.

Other top military leaders in the High Level International Military Group came from India, France and Columbia.

Lost in the malediction of cynical media misreporting and malevolent anti-Israel propaganda disguised as Palestinian human rights concerns is the fact that, during fifty days of war, Palestinian fired 4,564 rockets at Israeli civilian targets. Despite the UN statistics, which were adopted lies provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, a de factor Hamas Gaza, the real Gazan casualty figures show that 60% were men of fighting age, that many of the “children” quoted in the false figures were actually men in their 20s, that many Gazans were killed by Palestinian rockets aimed at Israel short-falling within Gaza and there is video evidence of Hamas conducting public executions of non-compliant Palestinians.

My investigations into Gazan casualty figures, conducted while the conflict was taking place and in the months after, confirmed the findings of these fourteen military experts that the Gazan casualty figures were remarkably low when taking into consideration the intensity of the fighting in such a densely populated area.

Consider this scenario. The Israeli Air Force conducted over 5000 sorties over Gaza, IDF artillery mapped out and targeted large concentrations of terrorist activity throughout the Gaza Strip, tanks softened up intense areas of terrorist strongholds in urban areas in preparation for the entry of thousands of infantry soldiers who were forced to destroy booby-trapped buildings alleyways and uncover and destroy miles of terror tunnels, rocket sites, and weapon storage facilities as well as fighting civilian-attired terrorists coming out of houses and public buildings to attack them. And yet there were only a few hundred non-combatants killed in such a ferocious and prolonged firefight.

As the international experts reported, this feat was achieved by both the accuracy of the surgical strikes of all elements of Israel’s fighting force combined with the IDF humanitarian concern to avoid, as much as militarily possible, harming innocent civilians, even those in support of the Palestinian Hamas offensive against Israel.

Barry Shaw is the Senior Associate for Public Diplomacy at the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies.  He is also the author of ‘Fighting Hamas, BDS and Anti-Semitism.’


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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