Friday, April 08, 2011

World Bodies Skeptical on Judge Goldstone's Change of Heart

Former South African judge Richard Goldstone, the man who's controversial Goldstone Report resulted in Israel's condemnation for its military actions in the three week Operation Cast Lead campaign may now have had a change of heart.

Judge Goldstone's report, published in September 2009, had accused both Israel and the Hamas and Islamic Jihad organizations of committing atrocities during the three week operation from late December, 2008 until mid January, 2009. In this operation, the Gaza office of the Palestinian Authority, dominated by Hamas, claimed that Israeli military forces "killed around 1,500 Palestinians, and caused immense property damage." The extremely one-side report, according to Israeli governmental and military sources, failed to take into account that prior to and during the engagement, hundreds of mortars, Kassam and longer range rockets were fired at Israeli cities, towns, and settlements as far away as Beer Sheva and Ashdod; causing several deaths and injuries (including mass trauma), as well as considerable property damage.

Goldstone's recent recanting of the report, over which he presided, now notes that he has been given "additional information" that puts the Hamas led Palestinians in a much more unfavorable light than was given to them in the report. Goldstone was recently quoted as saying that "punishing for war crimes should be on the basis of the equality of all nations before the law", and said that Israel is being unfairly punished in light of the many human rights violations being carried out by other nations around the world.

Goldstone also went on to say that the accusations against Israel have:

"fueled the long-standing and repeated complaints by Israel that the Human Rights Council and the UN in general are biased against it. They repeatedly rush to pass condemnatory resolutions in the face of alleged violations of human rights law by Israel but fail to take similar action in the face of even more serious violations by other States. Until the Gaza Report they failed to condemn the firing of rockets and mortars at Israeli civilian centers."

Needless to say, Hamas and Co., as well as Fatah in Ramallah, are not very happy over Goldstone's recanting, and claim he has done so from being under intense pressure by Israel.

Goldstone claims that had he received this "new information" at the time that the report was being compiled the report's outcome would have been much different. The firing of rockets by Gaza militants, whether from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or Al Qaeda operatives (now said to be in Gaza) has been so obvious that Goldstone and his associates could not have helped but be aware of this fact. And with a renewal of these rocket firings, including the recent incident when a Grad rocket hit a residential neighborhood in Beersheva, it might be thought that Goldstone's change of heart would have some influence on the UN and other world organizations. This doesn’t seem to be the case, however, and is a matter of simply being "too little and too late" to change the negative world opinions against Israel.

As for Richard Goldstone himself, perhaps he has decided it best to try to settle his accounts with that Great Judge Above, before whom Goldstone will have to one day appear. - Headlines