Tikkun Interview with Judge Richard Goldstone on his UN Report on the Gaza War
Extract from a wide-ranging Tikkun interview with Richard Goldstone, 1st October:
RG: …But in any event, even though Israel might have been entitled to use force, the real point of the report was that it was disproportionate force. Look at the thousands of homes destroyed, the factories, the agricultural land, this is almost impossible to justify militarily.
BW: Also in your view, in the view of your report, it was deliberate?
RG: I don’t think there is any dispute about it. The Israeli army has very sophisticated weaponry, and I don’t think they make many mistakes as to what they target.
BW: But I think that is the one piece where your critics are very upset about the report: the whole question of intention. And they do deny that there is intention, they claim that the civilians died accidentally
RG: I think we are talking at two different levels. When it comes to the destruction of infrastructure, they haven’t really responded at all to that, and that was part of what the report addressed. None of the Israeli responses have even said a word about the property destruction, the bulldozing of agricultural fields, the bombing of water wells, the bombing of sewage works that caused a huge spill over a huge area. There has been no attempt to justify that. When it comes to the actual killing of civilians in urban areas, that is where the big dispute comes in. I think all I can do is refer to the 36 incidents that we report on. And with almost all of them, we found the Israeli response to be disproportionate.
BW: As regard to wells and the factories, one can make a reasonable argument, not a pleasant argument, why Israel would want to do it?
RG: There was a political reason, and that was collective punishment and an effort to weaken the support for Hamas.
ML: Is that a violation of international human rights, destruction of infrastructure?
RG: It is a war crime. It is an attack on civilian objects, as opposed to military objects.
ML: Is that the kind of attack that is serious enough to warrant reprimand through the ICC?
RG: It would certainly be something that falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC.