Categorized | Palestine Affairs

Goldstone: An act of negligence

NOVANEWS
by NOURA ERAKAT

 

In the wake of a monumental victory in the human rights community to move the Goldstone Report out of the Human Rights Council (HRC) to the General Assembly where it can be underpinned by actionable follow up, Justice Richard Goldstone’s recent editorial makes some human rights practitioners wish it had been left to languish in the HRC.

Goldstone sought to do two things in his op-ed: to amend the record by stating that Israel’s attacks may not have been deliberate and second, to emphasise Hamas’s culpability under the laws of war. In the best case scenario, Goldstone’s intervention is a problematic attempt to cajole Israel to participate in the international process for accountability.

However, even in that case, the editorial is counterproductive, short-sighted, and casts Goldstone’s attempts as no less than curious.

Just last week, I had the chance to speak to Goldstone at Stanford Law School where I participated in a debate on the report featuring him as a discussant.

Goldstone seemed struck by recent revelations made in Israel’s investigation of itself that its murder of 29 civilians in the Sammouni home, where approximately 120 civilians had taken refuge, was the result of negligence and not a deliberate attack.

He emphasised that had Israel participated in the investigatory process rather than boycott it, it would have been able to contest the mission’s findings before the report’s release thereby correcting its alleged bias.

He echoes this sentiment in his op-ed where he writes:

I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

Goldstone should have known better: on the one hand, he accepts Israel’s investigatory findings at face value notwithstanding the Independent Committee of Experts’ conclusions that they are structurally flawed and unlikely to yield effective measures of accountability and justice.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, Goldstone takes for granted that Israel preemptively rejected the report precisely because the mission treated Hamas evenhandedly rather than dismiss it as a terrorist organisation whose annihilation is justified by any means necessary.

That is why it should come as no surprise that rather than respond to his proclamations with a renewed faith in international legal mechanisms, Israel’s staunchest allies are opportunistically characterising Goldstone’s editorial as an attitudinal shift towards Israel in the West while its prime minister has called on the UN to retract the report all together.

Comments are closed.

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING