Israel Won’t Cooperate with Goldstone’s Investigation
I’m not particularly surprised, but I’m still disappointed. Israel’s ostensible justification is that the UNHRC resolution that created the fact-finding mission is biased, because it only asked Goldstone to investigate Israeli war crimes. That was a ridiculous move on the UNHRC’s part, to be sure — but one of the very first things Goldstone did was to make clear that, despite his “mandate,” he would investigate Hamas’ numerous crimes, as well. So Israel’s argument is obviously just a pretext for its general opposition to having Operation Cast Lead scrutinized.
Israel’s refusal to cooperate with Goldstone’s investigation will be a PR disaster for the country. As my friend Mark Leon Goldberg pointed out at UN Dispatch, Goldstone is far more difficult to dismiss as biased against Israel than Richard Falk:
Goldstone was a former prosecutor of the Yugoslav and Rwandan war crimes tribunals. He was also a famous anti-apartheid judicial activist in South Africa, in 1991 Nelson Mandela tapped him to chair a legal inquiry into human rights abuses committed by the South African government. This later became known as the Goldstone Commission. And though he is a South African, he has deep ties to Israel. (He is a trustee at Hebrew University). From the New York Times.
Goldstone said he was ”shocked, as a Jew,” to be invited to head the mission.
”It adds an additional dimension,” said Gladstone, who is on the board of governors at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. ”I’ve taken a deep interest in what happens in Israel. I’m associated with organizations that have worked in Israel. And I believe I can approach the daunting task that I have accepted in an evenhanded and impartial manner.”
It will be hard for critics to dismiss Judge Goldstone as some crank with a grudge, like some did to Richard Falk, the Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Rights. More to the point, Goldstone brings to this job a sterling reputation as an impartial voice whose enduring loyalty has been to international law and justice.