The much awaited Goldstone Report on Israel's war in Gaza, commissioned by the United Nations [UN] is out. The 574 report did not have Israel's Likud Government support nor cooperation. Its conclusions are damning for Israel. It is quite damaging to Israel the more especially since South Africa's international respected jurist Richard Goldstone is not only Jewish but he is a Zionist. Yet, which his heart may inform him, does not in any way influence his judgment, probity, and integrity.
Hamas does not escape blame, and may be guilty of war crimes. But the lion's share of the judge's censure belongs to Israel. Its IDF [Tsuhal or Israel Defense Force] committed crimes of war against the civilian population of Gaza. It is estimated that 1400 defenceless women, children, and men perished in Israel's 21 day war in Gaza in June 2009. The destruction of property ranges in the hundreds of millions of $US. Jerusalem carried out a war of collective guilt which is against the Geneva Convention. Israel suffered 13 deaths and minimal damage to property, but its citizens near Gaza's borders may have sustained psychological distress, they are at least alive and enjoy very little damage to infrastructure damage, nor spend nights in bombed outbuilding or in tents, nor are they subject to a deliberate policy of obtaining the very minimum nourishment which a steel trapped Israeli blockade enforce.
Israel and Hamas have a period in which to reply to the report. Jerusalem has brazenly announced, it won't. In fact, it has reissued an IDF report which absolves it of any blame. If Israel persists, the International Tribunal in The Hague will consider charges of war crimes against Jerusalem.
Israel's protector and banker the US will block any such move.
Meanwhile the major American newspapers have already begun skewering the Goldstone Report's conclusions, apportioning equal blame to Hamas and Israel. The blame of course is not evenly shared. The facts are there to see that Israel should and has to shoulder the consequences and the blame for a brutal war against a civilian population. But Americans on the whole do not go in for facts much, so willful ignorance will absolve blame of Israel in the US.
Judge Goldstone's daughter speaking in Hebrew to the Israeli media, defended her father's record and his integrity. Nonetheless, judging by anyone who dares criticise Israel, the internationally renowned jurist will be smeared with the brush of 'self hating Jew'.
Still, Israel's war in Gaza has stripped it of any pretensions that it is a David battling the Arab hordes. Israel is armed to the teeth; it has a nuclear arsenal; its arms industry is flourishing; and it has to don the clothing of the bully in the Middle East. It can never escape the judgment of the Goldstone Report, nor its sagging reputation and the moral decline of a corrupt country.