Palestinians betrayed by Judge Goldstone
Retraction of report condemning Israeli actions in
flies in face of eyewitness accounts Gaza
By Laila El-Haddad
April 18, 2011
On April 3, Judge Richard Goldstone, chairman of the fact-finding mission on the
Judge Goldstone's co-authors, Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers, sharply disagreed with him in a statement issued in the Guardian on April 14. In it, they stood by the report in its entirety, saying "there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in any way change the context, findings or conclusions…"
The report was the final product of an independent, international fact-finding mission established during the assault to investigate violations in connection with the conflict. It found that
"They destroyed everything living and beautiful and ordinary," recalled my father, a retired physician who survived the onslaught, along with my mother, in the imposed darkness of their
By the time the three-week assault known as Cast Lead had ended on Jan. 18, 2009, more than 1,400 Palestinians were dead. Around 5,300 remain permanently wounded. The attacks, planned more than six months in advance by the admission of Israeli politicians, targeted and destroyed critical infrastructure such as water treatment and electrical plants, farms and factories, schools, mosques and municipal buildings. More than 50,000 people were displaced.
Yet no one has been held accountable — unless you count one soldier who got 71/2 months for credit card theft and two soldiers who got suspended sentences for using a 9-year-old child as a human shield.
The Goldstone Report meant to accomplish accountability, reporting not only on the destruction and massacres committed during the
But Judge Goldstone's op-ed is an affront to the rights of victims, both Palestinian and Israeli, and our desire — our right — to truth and justice.
Palestinians feel abandoned by Judge Goldstone. Here is a leading advocate for human rights giving every impression of deserting a civilian and refugee population — particularly the Samouni family, which lost 29 members over several terrifying days, but also Palestinians like Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, who was present when three daughters and a niece were killed by Israeli shelling.
Meanwhile, the Israeli army continues to operate with complete impunity, killing 19 Palestinians in
It merits reminding that the Goldstone Report had many other damning conclusions, including finding that the ongoing blockade of
There has been plenty written in the past two weeks about Judge Goldstone. Some say he buckled under pressure after being ostracized from the Jewish community. Some say he had a change of mind and others that he actually did not retract much.
One thing is certain
The need to hold
Laila El-Haddad, who is based in Columbia, is the author of "
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs