Goldstone co-author says Hamas fired ‘something like two’ rockets before Gaza war 10Feb10 February 11, 2010
by Anshel PfefferÂ -Â Haaretz -Â 10 February 2010
A co-author of the Goldstone Gaza report, which accuses both Hamas and Israel of war crimes, claims the Gaza militant group fired only two rockets at Israel prior to last year’s winter conflict, according to a new report published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
The center, headed by Dore Gold, former Israel Ambassador to the UN, revealed the report at a press conference on Wednesday.
The report 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.
The report quotes an extensive interview with Travers in the Middle East Monitor, in which he also says that Hamas had sought “a continuation of the cease-fire” prior to Israel’s offensive in 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.”
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 influencing British foreign policy in the Middle East and said that efforts to block the Goldstone reports findings have failed.
“The court of world opinion seems determined to see the report prevail,” he said.