The Goldstone report has generated a lot of controversy. Sadly this is due more to
paranoia, misinformation and disinformation than the actual contents of the
report. This controversy is part-and–parcel of the information wars that is
characteristic of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The Goldstone Report is not some ‘Elders of Zion’ propaganda. The report documents the 1000s of rockets and mortars that have struck southern Israel, the psychological and physical trauma this cause. The Report inherently accepts Israel’s right to self-defence and Palestinian’s right to self-defence. The question is on how is such a military action carried out. In general firing rockets into Sderot amounts to a war crime; just as deliberately targeting civilians in Gaza amounts to a war crime.
A second major feature that is often misunderstood is that the Goldstone report only sought to identify if there were prima facie grounds to call either the Israelis and/or Palestinians for a breach of international humanitarian law? A prima facie case only requires evidence that has some probative value. If there are grounds to initiate a formal court trial - whether that is domestic or international.
One of the ironies of the people’s understandings of the Goldstone Report is
it only took 19 pages of evidence [Part 3: pp 346-365] to establish a prima facie case that Palestinians had breached international humanitarian law eg the firing of the rockets and mortars. And yet it took 262 pages of evidence (i.e 13 times as much) to establish a prima-facie case for Israel to set up investigations? Curiously, anti-Palestinian groups miss this blatantly elementary legal point.
As a response I have put together a series of reports that have been prepared in response to the Gaza War of 2008-2009. Essentially I have just put together extracts
form these reports. It may appear a bit unwieldy, but once I complete the
first stage, i.e. get the essential facts; then I will look to summarise it.
The outline of the document is:
Part 1. The Goldstone report........... 5
Part 2. Israel’s response to the Goldstone Report........... 21
2.1 Israel’s July 2009 Response....... 21
2.2 Israel’s January 2010 Response....... 23
Part 3. The Secretary General’s Response, February 2010........... 27
Part 4. The UN HQ Board of Inquiry, May 2009........... 28
Part 5. The Goldstone Report - Blog........... 30
Part 6. Goldstone Transcript: Righteous in our Generation........... 49
To view this document in detail (albeit a draft) please click here (it is a google doc)
Part 5 is my own brief attempt previously to summarise the report. I also have
a separate blog link for this.
My hope is that documenting violence, from which ever side is a first step to
peace. If people are held accountable for their violence to another, this
will ultimately reduce the violence to each other.