Richard Goldstone, the Chief Investigator of the UN Human Rights Council’s investigation into war crimes and violations by Israel and Hamas during Israel’s 2008-9 invasion of Gaza, created a diplomatic stir when he published an op-ed on Friday entitled “Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israeli War Crimes”.In the op-ed, published in the Washington Post, Goldstone states that he no longer believes that there was a deliberate Israeli policy to target civilians during the invasion of Gaza in 2008-9, in which over 1100 civilians, including nearly 400 children, and an estimated 300 resistance fighters, were killed by invading Israeli forces.
His op-ed did not retract the findings of the report, which resulted from a months-long investigation of war crimes committed by both Israeli forces and Hamas fighters resisting the Israeli invasion.
Israeli officials from the Prime Minister to the Foreign Minister called on the United Nations to revoke the 400-page UN Report, known as the “Goldstone Report”, a call which has been rejected by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which commissioned the report.
One of the points made by Richard Goldstone in Friday’s op-ed was the claim that the so-called ‘Committee of Experts’, which followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report, had documented that Israeli authorities began investigations into 400 incidents of violence against civilians in the Gaza Strip.
He contrasted that with the Hamas Authority in the besieged Gaza Strip, which he says has not investigated any of the homemade shells fired by Palestinian fighters into Israel during the invasion, which resulted in 4 Israeli civilian casualties.
Analysts familiar with the Goldstone Report, and with the findings of the ‘Committee of Experts’, released last week, say that the ‘Committee of Experts’ followup report on the Goldstone Report was actually much more critical of Israel than implied by Goldstone’s op-ed. Although Israel has begun investigations of 400 incidents, these have been delayed, dismissed, and under-investigated.
Adam Horowitz, a US-based analyst, says that most of the killings of the 400 children in the Gaza invasion have yet to be investigated, and no perpetrator has yet to be brought to justice for these war crimes.