Monday, October 19, 2009

Judge Goldstone advises Israel to come to grips with the substance of the report

From his OPED

"In Gaza, I was surprised and shocked by the destruction and misery there. I had not expected it. I did not anticipate that the IDF would have targeted civilians and civilian objects. I did not anticipate seeing the vast destruction of the economic infrastructure of Gaza including its agricultural lands, industrial factories, water supply and sanitation works. These are not military targets. I have not heard or read any government justification for this destruction. 

"OF COURSE the children of Sderot and the children of Gaza have the same rights to protection under international law and that is why, notwithstanding the decision of the government of Israel, we took whatever steps were open to us to obtain information from victims and experts in southern Israel about the effects on their lives of sustained rocket and mortar attacks over a period of years. It was on the strength of those investigations that we held those attacks to constitute serious war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity."

The Obama administration's ill-advised attempt to marginalize the Goldstone report and to immunize Israel from accountability for its apparently reprehensible actions in Gaza has not worked.  Instead, the documented charges of war crimes will have to be addressed.  As a leading rightwing Israeli politician noted a few days ago, in a private discussion in which I participated, Israel must either act credibly on war crimes accusations, or watch while the international community does so.   

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