I wrote back in September, re the Goldstone Report on Israel’s actions in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead:
My inclination is to dismiss out of hand any report that emerges from the U.N. Human Rights Council, which includes such human rights stalwarts as China, Cuba, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. I’m even more inclined to do so when it establishes a four-person panel to issue a investigate and issue a report on human rights abuses in the recent Gaza war and the panel is initially ordered to focus only on Israel and ignore Hamas (and it’s not clear the mandate was ever really changed); one of the members had already declared Israel guilty of war crimes; the chairman of the panel was on the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch when it accused Israel of war crimes in Gaza; and the panel couldn’t do much actual investigating, because the Israeli government quite properly wouldn’t let its members set foot in Gaza or Israel.
Nevertheless, others are taking the report quite seriously. Perhaps this will change their mind (and if it doesn’t, I don’t think anything would):
The report [from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs] refers to recent remarks made by Desmond Travers, a retired Irish army colonel, who was one of four members of the fact-finding mission to Gaza and Israel.
Travers rejects the idea that Israel launched the offensive in Gaza on December 27, 2008, as an act of self-defense in response to Hamas rockets.
The Jerusalem center report says he bases this idea on a “fact” that he presents that in the month prior to start of the war, only “something like two” rockets that fell on Israel. [An IDF timline shows that between Dec. 19 and 27, just before Operation Cast Lead began, approximately three hundred rockets and mortars fell on Israel from Gaza.]…
Travers also rejects Israel Defense Forces photographs as proof that Hamas hid weapons in mosques during the conflict.
“I do not believe the photographs,” Travers said, describing the IDF evidence as “spurious.” [Who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?]*
Travers also criticized Israel’s past presence in Southern Lebanon, asserting that Israeli soldiers had “taken out and deliberately shot” Irish peacekeeping forces in the area.
He accused “Jewish lobbyists” of [strongly] influencing British foreign policy in the Middle East and said that efforts to block the Goldstone reports findings have failed.
Here’s the full text of the interview from which these quotes are derived. All the quotes check out, but the quotes recounted above don’t begin to illustrate Travers’s hatred of Israel, unwillingness to credit anything Israel says or question any Hamas assertions, and general nuttiness. To get the full sense of it, you have to read the whole thing. For example, did you know that there is no evidence that Hamas used human shields or intimidated the civilian population? In fact, according to Travers, any such allegations are likely an artifact of “Israeli combat troops specially trained to operate in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in civilian attire. They worked as ‘franc-tireurs’ (literally ‘free shooters’) and could have been in a position to cause confusion among the population.”
*Further: “And then when, for example, you see photographs of weapons caches found in mosques, like ones taken in the Zaytoun area where the Israeli Giv’ati Brigade went in – and demonstrated a particular enthusiasm for brutality and racist abusiveness in their operation in that area – I would say that unless they can give me absolute forensic proof, I do not believe the photographs.”
UPDATE: I think it’s worth reprinting in full Travers’ utterly weird claim about Israel murdering Irish soldiers:
But anyway, because so many Irish soldiers had been killed by Israelis, (some too by Palestinians and/or their Lebanese cohorts), with a significant number who were taken out deliberately and shot (in South Lebanon), slowly but surely, the body-bag phenomenon came into effect, and suddenly Ireland is now perceived as almost entirely pro-Palestinian.