April 3, 2011
As Elder of Ziyon says:-
Goldstone's admission, welcome as it is, is disingenuous.
Certainly the worst part of the report was in the many parts that he is now retracting, that the IDF purposefully targeted civilians. He now says that the "fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion" when the report was written. But in reality, if he had looked at both the history of how the IDF acts in war in general, the specifics that were known about how the IDF acted in Gaza, and how wars in urban combat zones are generally waged (i.e., in Iraq), of he was fair he would have easily concluded that the IDF was not purposefully targeting civilians and that they went out of their way, indeed even above and beyond, to avoid targeting real civilians (while Hamas was dressing up its fighters in civilian clothing.)
It appears that now, two years later, he is impressed that Israel is conducting investigations into acts of individual soldiers. Yet this is how the IDF always acted.
His belated retraction also doesn't note that much of what his report said was known to be false at the time the Goldstone Report was released, as I and others have documented quite exhaustively. His report had a clear and consistent bias where Israeli claims were treated skeptically but Hamas claims were believed without reservation. To come back 18 months later and lamely admit that Israeli claims were indeed found to be accurate just shows how biased he was in accepting problematic testimony then.
For example, he writes now:
"Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants)."
But this blog (Elder of Ziyon) as well as others had, already at that time, documented that hundreds of so-called "civilians" were in fact Hamas combatants, based purely on Hamas' own admissions in Arabic.
So while it is nice to see that Goldstone realizes his report was mistaken in its key accusation against Israel, his admission is way too little - and comes way too late.
His Washington Post op-ed is not going to get nearly the same publicity that the report did, and the damage cannot be undone."
Furthermore claims that had Israel co-operated things would have been different are patently false. As Elder of Ziyon points out and a number of media in cluding the Times and the Economist information and evidence supporting Israel's contentions were in the public domain but were dismissed and Hamas so called testimony adopted as a matter of course.
Evidence was taken from residents of Sderot and promptly thrown in the waste bin - none of their testimony was reproduced in the report. This was a stitch up by the UNHRC and Goldstone was a willing accomplice. The result was a foregone conclusion and no matter what evidence Israel had adduced the result would have been the same bearing in mind before her appointment to the mission, Christine Chinkin had co-signed a letter published in the Sunday Times describing Israel's military offensive in Gaza as "an act of aggression." and the comments of Desmond Travers who without any independent corroboratory evidence asserted during the public hearings that "there have been instances of the shooting of children in front of their parents. As an ex-soldier I find that kind of action to be very, very strange and very unique", asking the witness to comment on those insights.
It should also be remembered that on 3 November 2009, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a resolution, H. Res. 867 (344 for, 36 against) calling the report irredeemably biased and unworthy of further consideration or legitimacy.Howard Berman, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution, expressed several concerns:*The commission’s report lacks context. It does not take account of the nature of Israel’s enemy – operating from the midst of civilian populations, committed to Israel’s destruction, and fully supported by state actors Iran and Syria.
*The report does not take into account the extent to which witnesses from Gaza were likely intimidated by Hamas.
*In general, the report is credulous of Hamas claims but skeptical of Israeli claims.
We will now see if all those countries and NGOs who rushed to support the report without reservation notably the Swedish Government, the European Parliment, the French Government, the British Government whose UN Ambassador was reported as having made the outrageous statement that on the basis of the report Mr Olmert could face arrest if he visited the UK HRW and Amnesty International issue an apology to Israel. Do not worry we are not holding our collective breaths.
The damage has unfortunately been done and cannot be undone. As usual a lie has gone half way (actually all the way) round the world before truth has got time to put its boots on. Now of course the anti-Semites will claim Goldstone has been got at.