In March 1994, an angry and crazed Dr. Baruch Goldstein supposedly walked into the Hebron Mosque within the Cave of the Patriarchs and shot 29 worshippers dead, while wounding another 60. A reexamination of the evidence more than indicated that Dr. Goldstein was, in fact, a completely innocent victim of a Shabak (General Security Services) sting operation.
I had suspected something like that back in April 1994, when I published the article, Goldstein's Accomplices, in my newsletter Inside Israel, but I didn't have enought evidence to reach this conclusion until an Israeli researcher, Avraham Yosef, provided me the smoking guns this week.
My suspicions were based on the following facts:
* On the very day of the massacre, an Arab reporter for the news magazine Yerushalayim, Khalad Abu-Tuama interviewed 25 survivors from age ning to eighty in six different hospitals and all said there was either two or three shooters.
* A dozen of these survivors testified that there was more than one shooter at the Shamgar Commission of Inquiry Into The Hebron Massacre headed by Meir Shamgar, the same former Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court who later presided over the government inquiry which whitewashed the Rabin assassination. Three soldiers on duty also testified that seconds after Goldstein entered the mosque, another Jew carrying a Galil assault weapon followed him in. Shamgar ruled that all the Arab witnesses perjured themselves and that the soldiers were mistaken. Only by doing so could he reach the desirable finding that Goldstein was a lone gunman.
* The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) originally announced that Goldstein had arrived in uniform at the mosque in his civilian Subaru. The Shamgar Commission heard very different evidence. Dr. Goldstein's wife Miriam was surprised to discover a note informing her that Baruch was called to reserve duty. She phoned the IDF duty commander for Kiryat Araba, Shmuel Eidelstein to ask if he knew where her husband was. He said he didn't. And yet, evidence presented at the Shamgar Commission proved that Goldstein arrived in Eidelstein's IDF jeep.
* Orders were issued by the IDF to soldiers at the mosque to prevent all women from entering. No such order had ever been previously given in the soldiers' service.
* The IDF ruled that Goldstein shot 111 rounds in a minute and a half. Ballistics experts such as Mustafa Adawi of the Palestinian police force denied that was possible. All victimes of the massacre said the shooting went on for five minutes at least.
* The IDF denied that any of the victims died outside the mosque. In fact, six Arabs, including the mosque iman, were shot by the IDF soldiers at an exit door. Shamgar ruled the soldiers shot into an unruly mob in self-defense.
* Police, normally on duty at the mosque, were called away to investigate the shooting of one Muhmad Ibrahim Ayat in Kiryat Arba a few minutes before Goldstein arrived at the mosque.
In the wake of the Rabin assassination, another fact proved most bothersome. The Shabak ran a creepy division in Hebron called the Jewish Department. Its duty was supposedly to surveil "radicals" but, in fact, it entrapped young people opposed to the Oslo Agreement in a series of sting operations. Until the Rabin assassination sting, the most serious incident was the entrapment and subsequent long imprisonment of the Kahalani brothers, two innocents set up for planning a "massacre of Arabs." The full details of this sting are found in Chapter Seven of my Feral House book Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The head of the Jewish Department at the time of the Hebron massacre was Carmi Gillon. Though it was his duty to surveil a "radical" like Goldstein, he was not called to testify at the commission of inquiry. This was faciliated because his brother Ilan Gillon was the registrar of the court, responsible for witness registration.
Nor was Gillon demoted for the Hebron fiasco. In fact, he was appointed head of the Shabak shortly after, a position he held until a second Shamgar Commission ruled he was guilty of sloppiness in the Rabin assassination.
I add that a few months ago, a source, well placed high in Israel's security and political circles, informed me the real goal of the massacre was to uprise the Arabs into conducting some massacres of Jews in retaliation, forcing the IDF to remove the settlers from Hebron and other sensitive areas in the territories for their own protection. After that, it would be much simpler to fulfill the full terms of the Oslo Agreement with the PLO.
Yet with all these facts and suspicions, I still did not have enough to conclude that Goldstein was just another patsy of peace. One fact stood out for many people; Dr. Goldstein was a mild-mannered, highly educated doctor and a major in the IDF. His transformation into mass murderer did not fit his personality. To bridge the reality gap, Jewish right wing writers have come up with the unlikely theory that calls for a massacre of Jews on Purim from the mosque drove Dr. Goldstein into a sudden, maniacal fit. As psychologically improbable as this thesis is, worse is the justification claimed by some desperate extremists that he slaughtered Arabs to prevent the slaughter of Jews and thus died a hero.
Thanks to the research of Avraham Yosef, we see that Goldstein died as a fall guy. He never intended to shoot anyone.
Mr. Yosef begins his article, The Murder of Baruch Goldstein with an explanation of how he gathered evidence. Simply, he read every word of the Shamgar Commission report on the Hebron massacre. He notes that even though Dr. Goldstein wasn't there to defend himself, a great deal of evidence on his behalf was unintentionally offered, which was all, very intentionally, dismissed by Shamgar.
The following evidence, taken directly from the Shamgar Commission's Final Report, points to a very different massacre than the one Shamgar described to the public in his findings. Point by point:
*Although the 60 people wounded were of varying ages, all 29 dead were old. Although complete medical reports of the wounded were written, not one full report was prepared for the dead.
*While some of the wounded were shot by bullets, most were hit by shrapnel, the vast majority in their legs.
*A soldier in a booth had the duty of watching the mosque from three TV cameras within the prayer hall. One camera was broken that day and the shooter(s) stood within its lens field. Yosef asks if the shooter(s) was told where to be out of camera range beforehand.
*Dr. Goldstein arrived in IDF uniform. The guards asked him if he was on reserve duty and he calmly answered that he was. They reported no change from his normal behavior. He left before his wife woke up and she knew nothing of a call to serve in the reserves. Yosef asks why he would have bothered putting on a uniform when he could have just as easily entered the mosque in everyday clothing.
*The soldier guarding the prayer hall entrance within the mosque testified that Dr. Goldstein did not pass by him. That means he could have only entered through one of the two locked side entrances and since he didn't have a key, that would have required help.
*An Arab witness who got a close look at Dr. Goldstein described him as being tall and wearing black ear protectors. Goldstein was short and his ear protectors were found in his gun belt unused and colored off white. According to this man's testimony, writes Yosef, Dr. Goldstein wasn't the shooter the man saw.
*Numerous Arabs saw Dr. Goldstein subdued by up to twenty men armed with the same metal nightsticks. The IDF soldier watching the events on his TV monitor saw three such men armed with iron batons subdue Dr. Goldstein. One Arab witness told the police he saw a man open a storage closet and hand out the nightsticks to the worshipers. Yosef concludes that such a collection of weapons would not likely have been stored inside the mosque unless planted there to be later distributed by an agent provocateur.
*All witnesses, Arab and Jew, heard two explosions before the shooting. Yet no grenade shrapnel was found in the prayer hall. Shamgar concluded that the explosions were caused by the imam Sheikh Jamal Natsha, twice slapping his hand in fear on his microphone, which was broadcast loudly as booms in the speaker system after the shooting began. As Yosef notes, the explosions were heard BEFORE the shooting began "but we will never know the truth since the imam was shot to death while leaving the mosque."
Yosef paints the following scenario: Since he was on standby duty, Dr. Goldstein would not have thought it unusual to be called into the reserves in the middle of the night. He was driven to the mosque and escorted to a side door. He entered with his two unintended accomplices. They threw two stun grenades into the crowd and shot blank bullets. Then they left the prayer hall, locking the door behind them. Goldstein was alone and armed facing the mob.
The old people were trampled by the mob and they were the only ones to die. Notes Yosef, "Dr. Goldstein wasn't capable of killing people so he followed regulations and shot at their feet to keep the crowd at bay. Many bullets ricocheted off the floor, explaining the shrapnel wounds in the legs of most victims." NO ONE, NOT EVEN THOSE SUBDUING HIM WITH METAL NIGHTSTICKS WAS SHOT DEAD BY DR. BARUCH GOLDSTEIN.
Avraham Yosef concludes, "Dr. Baruch Goldstein was found guilty of mass murder by the government media in a pre-designed campaign though he killed no one. The fingerprints of the real plotter behind this ghastly plot are on the hands of the then-head of the Jewish Department of the Shabak."
This conclusion I do endorse. No act was too ugly or hideous to be committed on behalf of peace.