Throughout the extensive media coverage of the UN report on Gaza 2014 there have been few Palestinian voices, few opinions sought either from officials or civilians. Reports here from the three Arab publications which covered it, Ma’an news, Al Jazeera and Al Monitor. The single point they make is that the report increases the likelihood of Palestine taking Israel to the ICC.
Lethal as Operation Pillar of Defence was, it could have been worse; without the Goldstone report, ‘Netanyahu would have gone in guns blazing’ says Kevin Bloom. Uri Avnery, quoted (1) , comes to the same conclusion as does Jerry Haber (2) who says Justice Goldstone was the true winner of this military operation..
Anthony Lerman looks at the facts and myths filling the space since Richard Goldstone retracted the report made by the 4-person UN fact-finding mission
Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, three of the four members of the UN fact-finding mission to Gaza, May-September 2009 (The Goldstone Report) have issued a statement as they “find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate”.
14 April 2011
Over the past week we have published a selection of the many articles that have appeared since Richard Goldstone published his Washington Post op-ed on 1st April – twenty-one at the last count! There were colelcted together in two postings, “The Goldstone conundrum” and “Why did Goldstone do it?” , a division in practice with much overlap.
What follows is an attempt to give a brief, consolidated guide to the main issues raised in the various pieces and to provide direct links to them here.
8 April: links to articles by Ilan Pappe, Gideon Levy and MJ Rosenberg added to earlier postings;
10 April: links added to Uri Avnery, an EMHRN-Fide human-rights statement, Roger Cohen’s NY Times op-ed and a link to a Jewish Chronicle editorial.
Recent Israeli government calls for the UN to retract the 2009 report of its Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict are a cynical attempt to avoid accountability for war crimes and deny both Palestinian and Israeli victims of the 2008-2009 conflict the justice and reparations they deserve, Amnesty International said yesterday…
Speculation continues as to why Judge Goldstone published his op-ed piece in the Washington Post on 1st April. For the piece itself, and detailed commentary, criticism and evaluation see the posting below…
On April Fool’s day an op-ed appeared in the Washington Post entitled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes”. It was by Richard Goldstone. It said “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”
He has clearly handed the Israeli government a major propaganda victory. But at the same time it is hard to know what exactly he has backtracked on, why he seems not to have consulted the Report’s co-authors – and what of substance has changed. We can only speculate as to his motives in publishing this piece which, at one level, seems to be an attempt to rehabilitate himself in Israeli and critical community eyes after the horrendous personal vilification he suffered when the report appeared.
We reproduce his article here with evaluations and strong critiques of it by the Magnes Zionist, Adam Horowitz, Omar Barghouti, Aluf Benn and Ben White. We will add to these in the next few days and hopefully give some sort of guide to this growing literature. For now, we simply want to make some of these materials available on this site.
Added late on 4 April: articles by Noura Erekat and Akiva Eldar; an interview with Goldstone Commission member Hina Jilani; a statement by Israeli Human Rights’ Organisations.
Added 5 April: Coalition of Women for Peace statement; plus Jonathan Cook and MJ Rosenberg.
6 April: Bradley Burston, Guardian editorial and the latest statement from Richard Goldstone saying he will NOT be seeking nullification of the Report; plus Jessica Montell (of B’tselem), former Special Rapporteur on Palestine, John Dugard and Miri Weingarten….
7 April: Palestinian human-rights organisations respond.
8 April: Gideon Levy’s thunderous condemnation of Goldstone added as he argues that “Goldstone has paved the path for a second Gaza war”
“A new book, “The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict” [to which this essay is an introduction], will allow many more people to read the text of the report, along with contextualizing analysis. And they will be free to make their own judgments about whether Israel has been unfairly “singled out”—or whether, on the contrary, it is finally being held to account.”
In a hard-hitting statement, Amnesty International has condemned the findings of an Israeli inquiry into last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla as a “whitewash” which failed to account for the deaths of nine Turkish nationals. The Turkel Commission concluded that, of the 133 incidents of force used by the IDF during the raid on the Mavi Marmara that it examined, 127 were in conformity with international law, while it had “insufficient information” to make a determination on the other six… The report of the International Fact-Finding Mission – the Goldstone Report – came to diametrically opposite conclusions on every issue of substance and it has not been answered in any way.
Adam Horowitz discusses the recently released documentary shot by Israeli filmmaker Nurit Kedar. These testimonies, like those collected by Breaking the Silence, confirm many of the findings of the Goldstone Report, including the intentional targeting of wide swaths of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure…
Mondoweiss has published an adapted excerpt of the Editors’ Note from “The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict” to be published on 11 January 2010. The collection includes a substantial but abridged version of the Report itself and about a dozen wide-ranging essaysThis week we reproduce an adapted excerpt of the Editors’ Note from The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict to be published on 11 January 2010. The collection includes a substantial abridged version of the Report itself and about a dozen wide-ranging essays, critical and supportive. Contributors include Raji Sourani, Jules Lobel, Moshe Halberthal, Jerome Slater, congressman Brian Baird, Henry Siegman, Ali Abunimah, Letty Cottin Pogrebin, Laila el-Haddad and more. It is awaited with anticipation…
Audrey Farber writes: “In the WikiLeaked cables, the Israeli government constantly highlights three threats: “Iran’s nuclear program, the build-up of rockets and missiles in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, and the Goldstone Report.” In defense against each of these threats, and in other arenas, the Israelis seem adept at coercing the US into doing their bidding.”
In his final address to the UN General Assembly, Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967 said it was important that “urgent and tangible attention be devoted by this body to the ongoing ordeal of the Palestinian people whose fundamental rights are being daily violated in numerous and ways. This intolerable, immoral and unlawful occupation must be brought to an end, and there is no present prospect that traditional diplomacy will achieve this goal. The United Nations will be judged now and in the future by whether it contributes, at long last, to the long-deferred realization of the Palestinian right of self-determination, and thereby brings a just peace to both peoples.”
Jared Malsin, former chief English editor of Ma’an News Agency, reports on human-rights groups’ reactions to the PA’s decision to keep the Goldstone UN Fact Finding Mission report in Geneva, away from the relatively more powerful UN bodies in New York. “[W]ith peace talks going, they don’t want Goldstone anywhere near the agenda,” said Fred Abahams of Human Rights Watch. So the PA backed a resolution giving Israel and Hamas officials in Gaza six more months to investigate crimes documented in the Goldstone report…
A Panel of Independent Experts established by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council to monitor and assess domestic investigation by both parties during Operation Cast Lead has concluded that these investigations “remain incomplete in some cases or fall significantly short of meeting international standards in others.” These events cry out for further investigation. According to the International Commission of Jurists: “The Human Rights Council must therefore assess these domestic proceedings and report accordingly to the UN General Assembly and Security Council.” Plus a statement by Amnesty International…
A year after a United Nations fact-finding mission concluded that both Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, possible crimes against humanity and other grave violations of international law during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, Amnesty International condemned the continuing absence of accountability and warned that the victims’ hopes for justice now hang in the balance. It is a warning that we in JfJfP endorse.
Veteran South African journalist Allister Sparks writes: “AFTER carrying out its own investigation into last year’s Gaza War, the Israeli military has finally confirmed several of the most serious incidents committed by its troops in that 22-day assault, which a United Nations commission of inquiry, headed by our own Judge Richard Goldstone, reported on last September…”
Israel is contemplating how to deal with the United Nations committee charged with examining the credibility of Israel’s court system in the wake of the Goldstone report on last winter’s conflict in Gaza. The foreign and justice ministries are both pushing for a policy change that would lead to Israeli recognition of the probe and full cooperation with it…
International lawyer Sharon Weill provides an overview of what follow-up there has been to the Goldstone Fact‐Finding Mission report, which raised serious allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza during December 2008‐January 2009. The Goldstone report stated that the follow‐up might be exercised via three channels: (1) Israeli institutions; (2) the ICC; and (3) third states through the exercise of universal jurisdiction. Weill updates us on progress via all three…