Chaos over anti-Israeli Goldstone Report as co-authors slam Goldstone’s retractions in the Guardian, Israeli former PM says no forgiveness for Goldstone anyway
The Guardian has published an attack on Richard Goldstone for retracting the main points in his report and Ehud Olmert slams his retractions as too little too late
In a statement to the Guardian newspaper, co-authors of the Goldstone report alleging deliberate Israeli massacres of civilians in the December 2008/January 2009 war in Gaza have rounded on Richard Goldstone for retracting the report’s key allegations.
Christine Chinkin, professor of international law at the London School of Economics, Hina Jilani, the Pakistani human rights lawyer and Desmond Travers, a former peace-keeper from Ireland, penned the statement after Goldstone admitted in an article in the Washington Post that his report had simply got it wrong in suggesting that Israel had deliberately targeted civilians and that allegations of war crimes were unlikely to have any validity.
Goldstone’s retractions have had a devastating effect on the credibility of a report widely denounced in the United States and Israel as at best constituting a blatant piece of anti-Israeli propaganda and at worst a modern day blood libel against the Jewish people.
But the three co-authors have now hit back, angrily attacking Goldstone’s remarks and implying that he has given in to what they called the “extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work”.
The statement said:
“In recent days some articles and comments appearing in the press with respect to the report of the United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009 have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimise the findings of this report and to cast doubts on its credibility”.
And, the authors added:
“Aspersions cast on the findings of the report, nevertheless, cannot be left unchallenged. 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”.
To the report’s critics, it is this sort of intransigence in the face of wide-ranging evidence making a nonsense of the Goldstone report’s main allegations that made the investigation an exercise in Israel-baiting from the start.
The fact that the Goldstone report was instigated by the United Nations Human Rights Council – a body packed with dictatorships and which devotes the majority of its time to attacking Israel – did nothing to enhance its credibility.
Nonetheless, diplomats say it is unlikely that the Goldstone report will be withdrawn from the United Nations even after its lead-author’s retractions.
Analysts suggest that Goldstone may have been moved to change his mind after it was explained to him that his report could serve as a legal precedent legitimising and encouraging terrorism.
Despite his about turn, Goldstone remains deeply loathed in Israel. In an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post on Friday entitled “Goldstone’s regrets are too little, too late”, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert slammed the South African judge who he said “cannot be released from his personal responsibility for a totally wrong and vicious description of what really happened in Gaza.”
Olmert was Prime Minister of Israel at the time that Operation Cast Lead was launched.
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