By Arsen Ostrovsky
Canberra Times – 13 Apr, 2011
The judge was given a biased reference by the UN.
Richard Goldstone, author of the notorious Report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict of 2008-09 (Goldstone Report), conceded in a Washington Post op-ed on April 1, that had he known then what he knows now, his report would have been a different document.
Of all the accusations against Israel in the Goldstone Report, without doubt the most egregious was that it intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians as a matter of policy. This has since formed the backbone of allegations against Israel’s conduct in Gaza, sparking demands that Israeli leaders be arrested. The report has become the main tool in the arsenal of those who seek to delegitimise the Jewish State, and declare it an international outlaw.
Although Justice Goldstone continues to lament that Israel did not cooperate with the fact-finding mission, he could have easily availed himself of evidence submitted on behalf of Israel, including testimony by experts and witnesses, evidence presented by NGOs and other reports publicly available at the time. However he chose to ignore this, instead choosing to defame Israel and give succour to all her enemies.
Jerusalem’s lack of cooperation was hardly surprising given the biased mandate provided to him by the UN Human Rights Council and its history of one-sided obsession with the Jewish state.
Israel’s ‘guilt’ had in fact already been pre-determined before the world even knew of Justice Goldstone, when the original resolution establishing the fact-finding mission declared Israel had committed ”grave violations”. The resolution did not even have a single reference to Hamas or the 8500 rockets and mortars they fired into Israel between 2001 and the end of 2008. Apparently the human rights of Israelis do not fall within the UNHRC mandate. Dismissing the main allegation of ”intentionality”, Justice Goldstone now writes that ”Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas.” In other words, he confirms Israel’s position all along that the majority of Gazan casualties were in fact terrorists and that ”civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”. Nevertheless, that did not stop him from relying on grossly inflated and biased numbers provided by Palestinian sources and anti-Israel NGOs to conclude in the original report that most deaths were civilian. Praising Israel’s conduct since the operation, Justice Goldstone notes that Israel has dedicated significant resources to the transparent and bona fide investigation of alleged misconduct by the Israeli Defence Forces. This stands in stark contrast to Hamas, which Goldstone says ”has done nothing” and concedes it may have been ”a mistaken enterprise” to have asked them to investigate themselves. ve and wrong-headed?” In as much as Justice Goldstone was naive to think a terrorist group like Hamas would change its stripes, he was also overly optimistic that his report might usher in a new era of ”evenhandedness” at the UNHRC, which he concedes has a ”history of bias against Israel [that] cannot be doubted.”
To this day, the UNHRC, has maintained its one-sided pathological obsession with Israel, failing to condemn any terror against Israelis.
Although Justice Goldstone says his original fact-finding mission ”was in no way… judicial or even quasi-judicial”, that does not negate the fact that the report bearing his name has been exploited precisely as that as a legal verdict which can be used to attack, delegitimise and demonise the Jewish state. It is not however too late to reduce the toxic effect of the Goldstone Report which has reverberated in diplomatic fields, courtrooms, campuses and the media.
As a first step, Justice Goldstone must now demand that this libellous report be immediately returned to the United Nations to be revised in line with his updated opinion and Israel fully exonerated of the heinous charge of deliberately targeting civilians.
Although he will never be able to fully repair the damage he has caused Israel, he owes Israel and the cause of truth at least this much.
Arsen Ostrovsky is an international human rights lawyer currently serving as a Policy Analyst at the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council).