Richard Kemp

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Richard Kemp (born April 1959) is a former British Army officer whom Ha'aretz has described as 'a favorite of the British pro-Israel lobby'[1] for making statements exonerating Israel for the war crimes it committed in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. In July 2009 he told a JCPA audience in Jerusalem: "the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other Army in the history of warfare".[2]. Kemp is of course talking about an army which, according to Judge Richard Goldstone, targeted the "people of Gaza as a whole" in a war that was designed to "humiliate and terrorize a civilian population”.[3] Nor is Kemp's view shared by the Israelis who actually participated in the assault.[4]

Cast Lead Testimony

During Israel's assault on Gaza Kemp appeared on television disputing allegations that Israel was engaged in war crimes. It was not clear however what was the basis of his claims since he had no more access to Gaza in this period than did the world media except Al Jazeera. In June 2009, Kemp wrote a document entitled "Hamas, The Gaza War, and Accountability under International Law" for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs in which he claimed that Hamas discarded their uniform once fighting began and deployed women and children as suicide attackers. He also claimed that in Gaza "women and children are trained and equipped to fight, collect intelligence and ferry arms and ammunition between battles".[5]

In October 2009, Kemp also made a presentation to the UN Human Rights Council on behalf of UN Watch in response to the Goldstone Report[6] which documents Israeli war crimes committed during its assault on Gaza[7] Kemp concluded by saying that from his "knowledge of the IDF and from the extent to which I have been following the current operation, I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza".[7] [8]


External resources


  1. Anshel Pfeffer, British lawyer, retired officer take opposing sides over Gaza war crimes, Ha'aretz, 30 October 2009
  2. Gene Zitver, Colonel Richard Kemp on Cast Lead, Harry's Place, 4 July 2009
  3. The Goldstone Report on Gaza, UN Human Rights Council, 15 September 2009
  4. Donald MacIntyre, Israeli soldiers reveal the brutal truth of Gaza attack, The Independent, July 2009
  5. HAMAS, THE GAZA WAR AND ACCOUNTABILITY UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, 18 June 2009
  6. The Goldstone Report on Gaza, UN Human Rights Council, 15 September 2009
  7. 7.0 7.1 UK Commander Challenges Goldstone Report, UN Watch, 16 October 2009