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Goldstone Agonistes

Indeed, notwithstanding Goldstone’s apparent mystification as to why anyone should find his report objectionable, that failure to distinguish between democratic Israel and a dictatorship like Hamas-ruled Gaza goes to the heart of its problems. As Israeli researcher Jonathan Dahoah Halevi notes:

The Hamas de-facto administration in the Gaza Strip received nothing but respect from the Goldstone [Commission], which never mentioned it was an Islamist, fascist, terrorist organization, that it supported the murder of the Jews in “Palestine ...,” threw rival Fatah supporters off roofs and shot them in the knee, had taken over the administrative institutions of the Gaza Strip in a military bloodbath and were currently imposing on the Gaza Strip Islamic law (the Sharia), with its binding restrictions on women and with its gross, blatant disregard for basic human rights.

On the contrary, the Goldstone [Commission] viewed the Hamas de-facto administration as legitimate in every respect and made an artificial distinction between it and the “Palestinian armed groups operating in the Gaza Strip,” as if such “groups” did not kowtow to Hamas and had somehow spent eight years methodically launching rockets and mortar shells into Israel in opposition to Hamas policy.

Add to this facts such as the following:

1. All four members of the Goldstone Commission had previously made or signed public statements indicting Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

2. The UN resolution establishing the mission had already condemned Israel in clear language before the “fact-finding” had begun.

3. The commission’s sponsor, the UN Human Rights Council, consists mostly of dictatorships and terror states and has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than all 191 UN member states combined.

4. Goldstone refused to watch videos, readily available on the internet, showing Hamas terrorists routinely using human shields when firing rockets at Israel.

5. He also refused to allow testimony by Richard Kemp, the British colonel who has stated that Israel took historically unprecedented steps to avoid harming civilians in Gaza, including hundreds of thousands of leaflets and telephone calls.

One can understand why Warren Goldstein, legal scholar and chief rabbi of Goldstone’s native South Africa, wrote: “The Goldstone Mission is a disgrace to the most basic notions of justice, equality and the rule of law.”

And one hopes that those, both in Israel and international politics, who favor restricting the Goldstone report to the “Human Rights Council” -- synonymous with trashing it -- will prevail, to the disappointment of its author.