"We Cannot Undo the Past"

Published: May 7th 2010
in News » World

Judge Richard Goldstone
Pic: wikimedia commons

South African Judge Richard Goldstone, author of the highly controversial report on the 2009 UN fact-finding mission inside the Gaza war, held a meeting with South African Jewish communal leaders Monday.


The meeting was scheduled to discuss the accusations of war crimes and potential crimes against humanity by Israel and Hamas in the UN report published in September 2009. The attendance of Goldstone at this meeting was part of a deal brokered that ensured he would be able to attend his grandson’s bar mitzvah in the area despite reported threats from the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF). The group had said that they would protest outside the Johannesburg Sandton synagogue if he were to attend.


The report, which detailed war crimes on the part of Israel, deeply hurt the South African Jewish community and many other Israel supporters. The SAZF’s chairman Avrom Krengel expressed his disappointment with the accusation in Goldstone’s report to the Jewish Chronicle, saying:  “As a member of the Jewish community, we ask you to reach out to us and understand our pain and anger at what you have done and to work with us in ensuring that Israel is not treated in a manner different to any other nation.”


Krengel refered to passages in the report, pointing out information that he has described as bringing about “pain and anger.” He says: “Over 100 pages of your report are devoted to giving the reader a history of every actual and alleged human rights violation Israel has committed since 1967. One can only presume that this endless list of Israel’s ‘violations’ is designed to provide the report’s readers with an understanding as to why Hamas resorted to rocket fire into southern Israel and the capture of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit."


He also addresses Goldstone’s failure to disclose key issues of Hamas involvement in the Gaza war. He told World Jewish Congress: “Nowhere in your 573-page report do you feel it is of value ‘for contextual purposes’ to mention that Hamas’ founding charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. You fail to disclose that Hamas killed over 500 Israeli civilians in suicide bombings committed during the years 2000 to 2009.  You fail to disclose that the introduction by Hamas of suicide bombing into the Middle East has caused the death of tens of thousands of Muslims in the region."


Goldstone has reportedly defending his accusations against Israel, saying “It would have been hypocritical for me to continue to speak out against violations of international law and impunity for war crimes around the world but remain silent when it came to Israel simply because I am Jewish.”


In a document by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs titled “Israel’s analysis and comments on the Gaza Fact-Finding Mission Report,” the Goldstone report has been deemed to ignore “the deliberate terrorist strategy of operating in the heart of densely populated civilian areas which dictated the arena of battle.  Even when the Hamas terrorists mixed among civilians, the Report rejects the notion that there was an intention to put the civilian population at risk.”


Related articles: (goldstone, goldstone report, UNHRC, south africa, gaza war)

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