Goldstone to Israel: This Is Serious
Judge isn’t happy with reaction to his U.N. report
Richard Goldstone has had it with everyone, apparently. The South African judge, who spearheaded a controversial United Nations inquiry into war crimes committed during last winter’s Gaza war, writes in today’s Jerusalem Post that his critics have not made any effort to “come to grips” with the substance of the allegations put forward in the 575-page document, which accuses both Israel and Hamas of violating international law against targeting civilians. On the flip side, he adds, his fans don’t even seem to be paying attention to what he’s said, particularly, as he noted last week, when it comes to Hamas’s culpability. The report “has been fulsomely approved by those whose interests it is thought to serve, and rejected by those of the opposite view,” Goldstone writes. “Those who attack it do so too often by making personal attacks on its authors’ motives and those who approve it rely on its authors’ reputations.”
That said, he still argues, vociferously, that it was a mistake for Israel’s government to pass on cooperating with the report, and a mistake for Israel to focus on attacking him, personally, rather than addressing the questions the report raised, specifically concerning IDF strikes on civilian installations like sanitation works and chicken farms. Now, with the report headed for the Security Council—and a potential referral to the International Criminal Court—Goldstone says it’s time for Israel’s leaders to head off any further damage by conducting a new government inquiry. (And so, for that matter, does at least one former Israeli diplomat, Avi Primor, who told a German newspaper in an interview published today that Israel ought to “submit our position, our arguments, and not stay away.”) Netanyahu’s government has, thus far, pointed to a lengthy internal IDF report released over the summer, but that’s done nothing to appease critics—which, Goldstone argues, is reason enough to do another one. “Israel has an internationally renowned and respected judiciary that should be envy of many other countries in the region,” he writes. “Has it the will?”
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