Posted by lex, on April 2nd, 2011
In the aftermath of Operation Cast Lead – the 2008-2009 Israeli military response to an ongoing barrage of Hamas missile from Gaza into Israel proper – the UN Human Rights Council empanelled a fact-finding commission led by retired South African judge Richard Goldstone to look into the matter. The resulting Goldstone Report concluded that both Israel and Hamas may have intentionally committed war crimes by deliberately targeting non-combatant civilians, establishing a kind of moral equivalency between Israel’s actions to protect its civilians and Hamas’ efforts to murder them.
In the clear light of retrospect, Judge Goldstone admits that certain errors were made:
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 U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document…
Our 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.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
Goldstone goes on to remonstrate against Israel for not co-operating in his investigation, but given the make-up, politicization and inherently anti-Israel bias, this decision seems in retrospect quite rational.
When an existential enemy asks to measure you for your coffin, you are under no obligation to help him.