The Goldstone report continues to make trouble.
- Palestinians, especially those aligned with Hamas, are furious at Mahmoud Abbas for not pressing that it be presented to the International Criminal Court. Abbas, embarrassed, has gone so far as to order an investigation of the actions of the government that he himself controls!
- The Obama Administration is asking Israel to do an “independent investigation” of the report. There may or may not be an element of threat that the report will be allowed to go forward, ultimately to the International Criminal Court, if Israel does not follow instructions.
The main problem with the report is not simply that it describes events that did not occur or exaggerates what actually happened. The greatest evil done to Israel and the Jewish people by the ‘Zionist’ Judge Richard Goldstone is something else: In Ami Isseroff’s words,
Beyond all its irregularities, the Goldstone report made one claim that cannot be refuted: That Israeli policy and war tactics were deliberately designed to kill civilians. It can’t be refuted because it is not logical or based on any facts. Like medieval accusations of well poisoning or the blood libel, it is obvious that the persons making the accusation already have all the information needed to refute it, and simply ignore it because of malevolent mendaciousness…
Goldstone’s report claimed:
1211. Statements by political and military leaders prior to and during the military operations in Gaza leave little doubt that disproportionate destruction and violence against civilians were part of a deliberate policy.593
In a real report, one might expect that reference 593 would include the statements by political and military leaders that left no doubt etc. Instead, the footnote (like much of the Goldstone report) simply references a report by an anti-Israel NGO.
Indeed, NGO Monitor called it a “cut-and-paste job“. But here’s the kicker: not only is there no evidence for this really horrendous libel, but it is possible to present a very strong argument that such could not have been the policy.
As I’ve argued in “How Israel must fight“, perceptions of unnecessary damage or civilian suffering lead to international intervention which has often prevented Israel from achieving military objectives. Therefore, Israel had every reason to reduce collateral damage, not to increase it. The alleged policy of ‘punishing’ civilians would be counterproductive and irrational.
That this was the policy is shown by the fact that Israel made thousands of phone calls and text messages, dropped warning leaflets, etc. to try to get non-combatants out of harm’s way. This shows that a high priority was assigned to reducing collateral damage, because these measures decreased the strictly military effectiveness of the operation.
As a matter of fact, it’s likely that the US did intervene anyway and stop the operation early, in part because of the worldwide propaganda attack on Israel for atrocities that it didn’t commit.
The Goldstone report, the UN and Goldstone himself should be treated with the contempt that they deserve. Israel should not appoint a special commission and undertake a national soul-searching to determine why its leaders are war criminals, because they are not. Why further legitimize the slanders? The IDF is carrying on investigations of incidents where soldiers may have acted inappropriately, which is the correct and normal response after such an operation.