Sunday, April 03, 2011

Goldstone Retracts Part of His Own Report

In an op-ed in the Washington Post, South African Judge Richard Goldstone says the commission he headed came to the wrong conclusion regarding the intentionality of Israel's attacks on Gazan civilians during Operation Cast Lead two years ago. Based on information he now has, including from IDF internal investigations, he now says there was no policy of targeting civilians. Civilian deaths were mostly unintentional, perhaps with a few exceptions, where a commander on the ground was to blame.

Goldstone claims that had Israel cooperated with his commission, its conclusions would have been starkly different. That might be true, and if it is, it means any report the commission would have produced, with or without Israeli cooperation, would have been problematic. If they base their conclusions mainly on the two sides' official accounts, and don't do much independent investigating of their own, the report isn't worth much. It would have been much cheaper for the UN to post the official accounts on-line, side by side, and let the general public decide. But the public doesn't have the tools to find out which claims are true and which are false, you say? Well, apparently, the Goldstone Commission didn't either!