RAMALLAH, April 6 (JMCC) - Former United Nations human rights official John Dugard argues in an opinion
piece that no new facts have been presented concerning Israel's war in Gaza, despite judge Richard Goldstone's contention otherwise.
short, there are no new facts which exonerate Israel and which could
possibly have led Goldstone to change his mind. What made him change his
mind therefore remains a closely guarded secret.
The Goldstone report was not the only fact-finding report on Operation
Cast Lead. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the League of
Arab States (whose mission I chaired) all produced thorough reports on
In all reports, including the Goldstone report, there were accounts of
the killings of civilians by Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in a cold,
calculated and deliberate manner. But the principal accusation levelled
at Israel was that in its assault on Gaza it used force indiscriminately
in densely populated areas and was reckless as to the foreseeable
consequences of it actions which resulted in at least 900 civilian
deaths and 5,000 wounded.
In terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court it is a
war crime to intentionally direct attacks against a civilian population
(article 8(2)(b)(i)). Such an intention need not be premeditated: it
suffices if the person engaging in such action meant to cause the
consequence of his action or is aware that it will occur in the
ordinary course of events(article 30).
Goldstone is one of four authors of a UN report on Israel's 22-day offensive in the Gaza Strip that alleged war crimes by Israel and the Islamist group Hamas. Last week, he wrote an opinion piece seeming to reconsider the report's findings.
Writing on Tuesday for the New Statesman
, Dugard says that neither Goldstone or any of the other three members of the fact-finding commission has said they are willing to reconsider the report, as Israel has demanded.