Goldstone Report Reconsidered
Over the weekend the Washington Post published an op-ed by Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who headed up the 2009 UN investigation and subsequent report – the Goldstone Report – on the Israeli war in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead. The op-ed titled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes,” acknowledges that a lot more is known today than when the report was written and if it was done today it would be a completely different document. In the op-ed Goldstone recants on some of his initial accusations of war crimes against Israel, namely that Israel intentionally targeted civilians as a matter of policy in Gaza:
“The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.”
The Reform Movement, along with many other leading Jewish groups, has long maintained that the report was flawed. In 2009 the URJ rejected the UN Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the report and in a statement released today Rabbi Eric Yoffie, URJ President, called on the UN to void the report:
“We welcome Richard Goldstone’s op-ed reconsidering his report following the initial UN investigation into Operation Cast Lead, which he oversaw. His acknowledgement that the report did not accurately portray the situation is significant and welcome. At the same time, an op-ed, almost two years after the report was issued, cannot undo the damage to the State of Israel done by the image that Goldstone painted.”
UNHRC spokesman Cedric Sapey has said that for the report to be voided Goldstone will have to submit a formal request for its withdrawal.
One other point of note: Goldstone has reportedly accepted an initiation to visit Israel, and tour southern Israeli towns that have sustained years of rocket fire from Gaza, in early June as a guest of the Israeli interior ministry.