Israel har forberedt et svar på Goldstone-rapporten, etter først å ha avvist den fullstendig. Undersøkelsen er gjort av juridisk ekspertise med tilknytning til hæren. Noen mener Israel burde tillate en fullstendig uavhengig granskning. Men nesten ingen i Israel, heller ikke B’Tselem eller samvittighetssoldatene i Breaking the Silence mener at Israel bevisst angrep sivil infratruktur og sivile i Gaza, slik Goldstone-rapporten påstår.

Dette er et faktum som norske medier, fremst NRKs Sidsel Wold, ikke nevner.

Still, virtually no one in Israel, including the leaders of Breaking the Silence and the human rights group B’Tselem, thinks that the Goldstone accusation of an assault on civilians is correct.

«I do not accept the Goldstone conclusion of a systematic attack on civilian infrastructure,» said Yael Stein, research director of B’Tselem. «It is not convincing. But every incident and every policy has to be checked by an independent body because the military cannot check itself. They need to explain why so many people were killed.»

Norske medier har unngått å presisere hva det er ved Goldstone-rapporten som provoserer Israel så kraftig. Det gis inntrykk av at det er establishment som ikke vil ta kritikk. NRK og Sidsel Wold siterer villig vekk Breaking the Silence når de kritiserer hærens oppførsel, men ikke det viktige forbeholdet New York Times nevner: ingen vil gå god for påstanden om at Israel bevisst ødela infrastruktur og gikk etter sivile.

Det er samme påstand som ytre venstre har hevdet i alle år. Mads Gilbert og Erik Fosse har det som truende premiss i sin bok: det stiger frem et høyteknologisk, demonisk Israel.

Men Foss og Gilbert hverken stiller eller besvarer det opplagte spørsmål: hvis Israel utkjemper krig i verdens mest tettbefolkede område, hvor det bor halvannen million mennesker, og hvis de virkelig gikk etter sivile, hvordan kunne det da være 1.400 drepte? Selv ved en hensynsløs krigføring, dvs. som ikke tok hensyn til sivile ofre, er tallet «lavt».

Men disse spørsmålene er ikke stilt i norske medier, fordi det ville rive vekk grunnen under deres egen rappportering av krigen.

Netanyahus regjering avviste til å begynne med Goldstone-rapporten, men alvoret gikk etter hvert opp for israelerne: De har nå utarbeidet en motrapport som vil bli oversendt Sikkerhetsrådet.

One concerned the destruction of Gaza’s sole flour mill. The Goldstone report asserts that the Bader flour mill «was hit by an airstrike, possibly by an F-16.» The Israeli investigators say they have photographic proof that this is false, that the mill was accidentally hit by artillery in the course of a firefight with Hamas militiamen.

The dispute is significant since the United Nations report asserts that «the destruction of the mill was carried out for the purpose of denying sustenance to the civilian population,» an explicit war crime.

A second finding concerned the destruction of a wastewater plant, leading to an enormous outflow of raw sewage. The Goldstone report contended that it was hit by a powerful Israeli missile in a strike that was «deliberate and premeditated.» The Israelis say they had nothing to do with that plant’s collapse and suggest that it may have been the result of Hamas explosives.

The two cases, along with the destruction of chicken coops, water wells, a cement plant and some 4,000 homes, are crucial building blocks in the Goldstone case that Israel set out to eliminate infrastructure so as to cause intense civilian suffering.

The report stated that «the destruction of food supply installations, water sanitation systems, concrete factories and residential houses was the result of a deliberate and systematic policy by the Israeli armed forces.» It added that Israel waged «a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population, radically diminish its local economic capacity both to work and to provide for itself, and to force upon it an ever increasing sense of dependency and vulnerability.»

Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the Israeli military advocate general, said in an interview that those assertions went beyond anything of which others had accused Israel.

«I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League,» he said at his desk in the military’s Tel Aviv headquarters. «We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It’s a vicious lie.»

Tidligere etterretningsoffiser, brigadegeneral Yuval Halamish har ledet undersøkelsen og overlevert den til general Mandelblit, som er uavengig av kommandokjeden, og rådgir hæren om de juridiske lovligheten av bombemål.

Sikkerhetsrådet stilte som krav at både Hamas og Israel måtte foreta uavhengige selvstendige granskninger av påstandene i Goldstone-rapporten. Det er de i Israel som mener at Israel burde gjøre det, ikke for å gi etter for press, men av hensyn til egen befolkning:

«Israel owes it to its own citizens and soldiers, as well as to the victims, to carry out an independent investigation,» said Moshe Halbertal, a professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew University and a co-author of the military’s code of ethics.

Mr. Halbertal said that he was concerned about persistent reports during the Gaza operation that commanders had a «no risk» policy for their soldiers, which led to the unnecessary destruction of property and the shooting of civilians who were feared dangerous.

This is also the view of the organization Breaking the Silence, a group of military reservists who have given testimony about receiving orders in the war to shoot or destroy in ways that violated ethical standards and the military’s own code.

Israel anser hæren for å følge en høy moralsk standard. Følgelig er Israel lydhøre for soldater som kommer med selvkritikk.

Israel Poised to Challenge a U.N. Report on Gaza