UK Commander Challenges Goldstone Report

Testimony given by Colonel Richard at the 12th Special Session of the Human Rights Council of UN on 16 October 2009. Watch this video Here



By Colonel Richard Kemp*

Thank you, Mr. President.

I am the former commander of the British forces in Afghanistan. I served with NATO and the United Nations; commanded troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Macedonia; and participated in the Gulf War. I spent considerable time in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, and worked on international terrorism for the UK Government’s Joint Intelligence Committee.

Mr. President, based on my knowledge and experience, I can say this: During Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli Defence Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

And Israel did so while facing an enemy that deliberately positioned its military capability behind the human shield of the civilian population.

Hamas, like Hizballah, are expert at driving the media agenda. Both will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept of asymmetric warfare, the distortions, inversions and the dramatization of the causes and effects of incidents.

The IDF faces a challenge that we British do not have to face to the same extent. It is the automatic, Pavlovian [1] presumption by many in the media, human rights groups and NGOs international, that the IDF are in the wrong, that they are abusing human rights of others.

The truth is that the IDF took extraordinary measures to give Gaza civilians notice of targeted areas, dropping over 2 million leaflets, and making over 100,000 phone calls. Many missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were aborted to prevent civilian casualties. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza. To deliver aid virtually into your enemy’s hands is, to the military tactician, normally quite unthinkable. But the IDF took on those risks!

Despite all of this, of course innocent civilians were killed. War is chaos and full of mistakes. There have been mistakes by the British, American and other forces in Afghanistan and in Iraq, many of which can be put down to human error. But mistakes are not war crimes.
More than anything, the civilian casualties were a consequence of Hamas’ way of fighting. Hamas deliberately tried to sacrifice their own civilians
to win in the
advertising field. This is amply documented…

Mr. President, Israel had no choice apart from defending its people, to stop Hamas from attacking them with rockets. Attacks continued for eight years…

And I say this again: the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

Thank you, Mr. President.


* Colonel Richard Kemp




[1] Pavlov, Ivan Petrovic (1849-1936) Russian Psychophysiology, winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine and Physiology in 1904 by their work. Pedagogy, advertising based on the reflexology pavloviana. Its main works are: experimental psychology and psychopathology (1903) and conditioned reflexes (1932).

In a more direct English: When you say about “automatic presumption and Pavlovian” is the famous preformed opinion without knowing it. And the reviews preformed may be of cultural, religious, political, social, etc.



1. UN Watch Org


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One Response to UK Commander Challenges Goldstone Report

  1. Pingback: HRW founder slams criticism of Israel « World’s Observatory

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