IPSC Statement: Goldstone’s ‘reconsideration’ does not invalidate UN Report on Israeli crimes in Gaza[14th April] UPDATE: The three other members of the UN Factfinding Mission – Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers – have released their own statement standing by the report. Read it here. [6th April] Israeli diplomats and pro-Israel lobbyists in the West have seized eagerly upon an article published in the Washington Post on April 1st by Richard Goldstone, the South African judge who chaired the UN Fact-Finding Mission that investigated the Israeli military offensive in Gaza two years ago, codenamed ‘Operation Cast Lead’. Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu has claimed that “everything we said has been proven true, Israel did not intentionally harm civilians, its investigating bodies are worthy and the fact that Goldstone has retracted should bring the report to be shelved once and for all”, while the Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman maintained that “the truth has come to light”.
These comments are a transparently dishonest spin on the part of the Israeli government. In fact, nothing that has been said by Richard Goldstone constitutes a “retraction” of the fact-finding mission’s report, or brings into question its conclusions that Israeli forces were responsible for major crimes against the civilian population of Gaza. Those crimes are likely to be repeated if the Israeli spin machine is allowed to whitewash the record of “Operation Cast Lead”.