15 March 2010
During the war in the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and January 2009, Hamas fighters used children as human shields and also established launching pads in, and near, more than 100 mosques and hospitals, according to a 500-page report released by the Israeli Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (Malam), a small research group led by a retired IDF officer, Reuven Erlich. The Israel Defense Forces and the Shin Bet secret service cooperated with the report’s authors and declassified hundreds of photographs, videos, prisoner interrogations and Hamas-drawn sketches as part of an effort to counter the criticism leveled against Israel in the Goldstone Report.
Work on the report began immediately after retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone issued his damning report of Israel’s offensive in Gaza in September 2009, according to the ‘Jerusalem Post’. According to the Malam findings, the Goldstone report contains “four basic flaws”: it “does not deal with the nature of Hamas, particularly its terrorist aspects”; it “minimizes the extent and gravity of the terrorist activity carried out against Israel from the Gaza Strip and does not assign responsibility for it to Hamas”; it “does not deal with Hamas’ military buildup in the Gaza Strip during 2007-2008, which threatened Israel (as opposed to its extensive coverage of the historical development of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict)”; and it “completely ignores the massive amounts of aid Iran as well as Hezbollah and Syria (directly or through Hezbollah) gave Hamas to construct its military-terrorist infrastructure.”
“The Goldstone Report is one-sided, biased, selective and deceptive, since it simply accepts Hamas claims at face value and presents everything through Hamas’s eyes,” Erlich was quoted as saying by the newspaper. The Malam report also provides analysis of a sketch found during the offensive in a neighborhood in northern Gaza City that Erlich said proved Hamas’s culpability for the ensuing death and destruction. “By placing all of their weaponry next to homes, by operating out of homes, mosques and hospitals, by firing rockets next to schools and by using human shields, Hamas is the one responsible for the civilian deaths during the operation,” he said.
The Goldstone Report states that its authors “found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from attack.”
Read the executive summary and the full Malam report.
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