The Goldstone Report meant to accomplish accountability, reporting not only on the destruction and massacres committed during the Gaza attack but calling for an examination of the intent of senior leaders and for action against perpetrators of war crimes.
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 Gaza earlier this month. On Jan. 10, they shot dead a 65-year-old farmer tending to his land along Gaza's border — a repeat of an incident I reported in September, when Israeli forces killed a 92-year-old shepherd, his 14-year-old grandson and his 17-year-old friend with a series of artillery shells, even though they were clearly visible (by the army's own admission days later).
It merits reminding that the Goldstone Report had many other damning conclusions, including finding that the ongoing blockade of Gaza constitutes a violation of Israel's obligations as an occupying power. The blockade deprives Palestinians of their most basic freedoms: freedom to build, to move in and out of one's home to the rest of the occupied Palestinian Territories or to the world, to fish more than three miles out to sea, to marry who you want and live where you want, to study, to read, to farm, to build, to live, to prosper. It dysfunctionalizes life and cripples livelihoods.
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: Though Judge Goldstone's opinion may have changed on the deliberateness of Israel's killings, the facts on the ground and the eyewitness testimonies one hears on every corner of the Gaza Strip have not. They are the greatest evidence.
The need to hold Israel accountable for its crimes and to implement the recommendations of the Goldstone Report have never been more salient. To quote Judge Goldstone himself, "the debate should continue, not attempt to be silenced."