Letter in the Sydney Morning Herald, 18 Oct 2009

This letter appeared, on behalf of the AJDS in a leading daily newspaper.
It is unfortunate that the report on the Gaza conflict by the UN fact-finding mission led by Richard Goldstone has been so strongly condemned by the Israeli Government (”Israel and Hamas must heed UN report”, September 17). Its attacks on Justice Goldstone will only isolate it further. The report makes sober reading about the failure of Israeli policy and the effects of war between two very disproportionate combatants. Significantly, it observes that the tactics against civilians developed by the Israeli Army were not heat of the moment decisions, but documented military doctrine. It also condemns Hamas for its shelling of Israeli civilians, action against internal opponents, and its refusal to let the Red Cross see the prisoner Gilad Shalit.
Friends of Israel and Palestine should see the report as a cause for serious reflection and should be urging their respective leaders to abandon their failed approach to the conflict. It further demonstrates that only international intervention and compromise, not war, can provide a way out of the conflict.
Larry Stillman Australian Jewish Democratic Society, Prahran (Vic)

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