During the Gaza war, i was widely criticized for publishing an open letter to the Palestinian people, calling them to rid themselves of what i consider to be a terrorist organization strangling their hopes for peace and condemning them to a future ridden with hatred and bloodshed. I was also criticized by these same people for defending Israel’s right to self defence and claiming that there was never any intention on Israel’s part of hurting innocent civilians, whereas Hamas’ sinister plans were and remain clear: to destroy Israel and in such, target innocent civilians intentionally.
I have always been a staunch supporter of the Peace process and the ‘two state solution’. But during the public discourse on this matter, i was shocked by the clear demonization of Israel, which became a horrible sort of “fashion”, and the forgiving, “they know not what they do” attitude used to judge, or rather not to judge, Hamas. I stated that though i am and have always been critical of many of Israel’s policies and actions, i would by no means agree to the wanton and imbalanced “death sentence” flung at her doorstep. I even compared it to Ceasar’s ‘thumb down’ with the bloodthirsty crowds roaring.
When the Goldstone report was issued, it was widely used by anti-Israel forces to condemn Israel, and by my own critics to strengthen their claims against me. Now, almost three years after that tragic war, many things have changed, and much more is known about what really happened. It is unfortunate that due to Israel’s initial,illogical refusal to cooperate with the Goldstone fact finding committee, the truth (whatever that may mean) has taken so long to emerge from the ruins of war.
This week Judge Goldstone published an article in the prestigious Washington Post, entitled "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report".
Here are some captions:
"If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”
“the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. “
“the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.”
“Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity”
“ the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies”
The complete report here:
War is an ugly thing. We must do all in our power to avoid it, and at the same time be VERY careful when we go out on witch hunts and burn culprits at the stake without carefully considering how much bias and prejudice is involved in our judgement.
Even though it may fall under the category of “too little to late”, i am happy Goldstone published this article and i admire his integrity. It takes a courageous man to reconsider his former position.
Having said that, i continue to urge my government to snap out of its destructive lethargy and rekindle peace talks with the Palestinians AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Rather than basking in an arrogant “i told you so” attitude, Netanyahu and his cabinet should be making every effort to utilize the shift of international attention from our region (the focus now being on other areas of the Arab world dealing with historic upheavals), and sanely and respectfully conclude the agreement with the Palestinian Authority. It seems Netanyahu’s regime wants to be dragged kicking and screaming by an entire nation’s hair to the table, rather than initiating the dialogue themselves, as would be the honourable thing to do.
May we know better days.