Goldstone2In his April 1, Washington Post opinion piece, Richard Goldstone said that if more information had been forthcoming from Israel when he chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the section concerning intentional killing of civilians by Israel, would have been different. That it was Israel’s refusal to co-operate with the UN fact- finding mission which adversely affected the outcome, is an important qualification that has been somehow lost in the justificatory headlines and commentary that have appeared in the Australian Jewish News.
But what of the rest of the first Goldstone report, or the additional report released on 18 March by the UNHRC, a report which continues to be critical of Israel and Hamas? Has that report been “qualified” or “disowned” by Goldstone? Not at all. It also needs to be observed that the UN again spoke with Gilad Shalit’s father. The UNHRC mission and the original Goldstone report called for his release.
In fact, here are Goldstone’s most recently reported remarks about the report as a whole: “I have no reason to believe any part of the report needs to be reconsidered at this time.”
Of 400 Israeli investigations–there have been 52 criminal investigations. So far, only three cases have been submitted to prosecution; two have resulted in convictions, while the trial of one case is still ongoing. This lack of movement is regrettable. In another case, theft of a credit card by a soldier in Gaza resulted in a far more serious penalty than using a nine-year-old as a human shield, and this has not been the only case of a light touch.
Moreover, we note that Hamas has not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and deserve the strongly critical remarks in the most recent UNHRC report.
[This letter was published to the Australian Jewish News in an edited form on 22 April 2011]