Saturday, April 2, 2011

Goldstone: Claims of Israel's Gaza war crimes should be reconsidered

From Haaretz

Writing in a Washington Post column, former head of the Gaza war fact-finding commission slams anti-Israel UN bias, says Jerusalem went to 'significant' lengths to investigate itself.

"We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report," Goldstone wrote, adding: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

The former South African jurist said that while "Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes."

While Israel has shown to probe itself "to a significant degree" over Gaza war actions, Goldstone wrote, Hamas, who has been in control of the coastal enclave since 2007, "has done nothing."

The former jurist also criticizes the UN Human Rights Council's anti-Israel bias, saying that he had hoped that the report could "begin a new era of evenhandedness at the UN Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted."

"Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations," Goldstone added, saying that his report "found evidence of potential war crimes and 'possibly crimes against humanity' by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets."

Read the full story here


Anonymous said...

From the Jerusalm post

...the astounding piece in The Washington Post by the Jewish justice, who presided over the Goldstone Report that accused Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead, represents nothing less than an apology to Israel.

“If I had known then what I know now,” he writes in the first extraordinary paragraph of his mea culpa, “the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

How dramatic the about-face. And how terrible that it was necessitated.

Atlanta Roofing said...

In terms of future lessons the most obvious should be that if Israel wants to be treated fairly by the UN they should cooperate with such investigations instead of stonewalling. If Goldstone is correct, it was precisely Israel's intransigence that led to the report being one sided. You can't blame a court for a suspect who refuses to defend themselves.

Anonymous said...

Atlanta- do you really think the UN (dominated by dictatorships and theocracies) will ever treat Israel fairly? There are 56 Islamic countries that vote as a bloc- the oil cartel and their dominions dominates the UN, and Israel has always been their target