Experts From Hamas' Official Response to Goldstone Report / Jonathan D.Halevi

The Hamas document responding to the Goldstone reportPic: NULL

The Hamas government submitted last week [early February 2010] its official response to the UN fact finding mission’s report (Goldstone report) on Operation Cast Lead. Mohammad Al-Rol, Hamas Minister of Justice, informed the UN in an appended letter that the document is only a preliminary response which does not cover the myriad violations of the international law committed by the “occupation forces”.

In its official document, Hamas refers to the main accusations mentioned in the Goldstone report regarding launching rockets at Israel by “Palestinian armed groups” and using the kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, as a bargaining chip to release Palestinian terrorists incarcerated in Israel. Below are the main Hamas arguments as translated from a copy of the original document published on one of Hamas’ websites:

Hamas never targeted Israeli civilians

“In spite of the fact that the Palestinian government emphasized the right of the occupied Palestinian people to resist and for self defence as approved by the international law and the UN charter, and notwithstanding the difficulties in most cases to contact these groups [Palestinian armed groups], the Palestinian government [of Hamas] in Gaza has more than once urged the Palestinian armed groups to refrain from attacking civilians. The Palestinian armed groups announced their commitment to abide by the international humanitarian law, and in their announcements published in the media and on websites it was declared that they attack military targets and refrain from targeting civilians. Any allegation in this regard [raised against the Palestinian armed groups] should be documented with evidence...

“The resistance organizations emphasized that they abide by the Islamic Law [Sharia] which respects human dignity and prohibits its desecration... and this was the motive behind the imam and shaheed [founder of Hamas and its leader till his assassination in 2004] Ahmad Yassin’s declaration to exclude civilians and civilian facilities from the tragedy of the conflict. However, the occupation government rejected this initiative... and according our verified information the occupation attacked and extra judicially killed dozens of [Palestinian] civilians claiming that they were launching rockets...”

Gilad Shalit is being protected by Hamas from Israeli attempts to kill him with his captors

“The resistance groups that took captive the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit claimed responsibility for his capture while he was stationed at an Israeli army post on the border with the Gaza Strip. In this way of action they expressed their adherence to the international law. In addition, they announced that he [Gilad Shalit] is alive, safe and sound and delivered audio and video clips [in which Shalit is recorded] to calm his family and to demonstrate that he is in a good health and there are no traces of torture or humiliation. The video clip showed that his captors treat him well.

The Hamas document responding to the Goldstone reportPic: NULL“The resistance groups, which captured the [Israeli] soldier Shalit, announced that they are committed to the Third Geneva Convention regarding the treatment of war prisoners and that they treat him with respect, he gets appropriate medical treatment, he receives enough food and he is detained in a safe and clean place that keeps his dignity. The resistance groups that captured Shalit, clarified that permitting visits of the International Red Cross in the place where Shalit is detained may risk his life, particularly due to the fact that the Israeli occupation forces bombed during the aggression [Operation Cast Lead] and in the aftermath some places in which they thought that the captors of Shalit are located. Arranging visits to the place in which Shalit is detained will reveal its location to the Israeli occupation forces, and then the occupation forces will not restrain from launching a military operation and striking the place with missiles. This scenario will put in risk the life and the physical well being of the detained [Israeli] soldier...

“Regarding the release of the detained soldier Shalit, the capturing armed groups expressed their readiness to release him if the Israeli occupation forces free from jail a group of [Palestinian] prisoners incarcerated because of issues relevant to the occupation, and first and foremost all detained parliament members. The occupation authorities refused it [this demand] till now.”

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