Richard Goldstone, the chair of the four-person UN fact-finding mission into the Gaza massacre in 2008/09, finding himself under immense pressure from his zionist friends, has tried to back down over key aspects of his condemnation of Israel’s conduct during its attack on Gaza as outlined in the Goldstone Report.
Although stating that many of his former criticisms remain intact, including condemnation of Israel’s excessive military force and of the use of white phosphorous, Goldstone now, in light of ‘new evidence’, asserts that there is not sufficient evidence to justify the conclusion that Israel deliberately targeted civilians – a recognised war crime.
This is despite seven well-documented cases in which Israeli troops are known to have killed a total of 11 Palestinians who had been waving white flags to signal their civilian status, as well as six cases where Israeli drone operators fired on and killed a total of 29 Palestinian civilians, including five children, even though drone technology offers the capacity and time to determine whether the targets are combatants. Not to mention plenty of easily-accessible evidence from Israel’s soldiers themselves regarding the orders they had been given.
However, following Goldstone’s back-peddling, the other three authors of the report have issued a statement shooting down several of his main contentions and implying that he has bowed to intense political pressure.
They state that: “Members of the mission, signatories to this statement, find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate …
“We regret the personal attacks and the extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work in May 2009. This campaign has been clearly aimed at undermining the integrity of the report and its authors. Had we given in to pressures from any quarter to sanitise our conclusions, we would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade.” (‘Goldstone report: Statement issued by members of UN mission on Gaza war’, Guardian, 14 April 2011)