Monday, October 5, 2009

Goldstone: 'I Love Israel, and as a Jew I Must Investigate It'

by David Lev
Retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone told an interviewer Sunday on the CNN cable news network that as a Jew, he had an "obligation" to investigate war crimes, such as the ones the he claimed the IDF committed in Gaza.

Goldstone headed a panel on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, which issued a report accusing the IDF of committing "war crimes" against residents of Gaza.

While parts of the interview were dedicated to enumerating the supposed war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers – for example, he accused troops of killing thousands of chickens and destroying the egg industry in Gaza – Goldstone spent a good portion of the interview reflecting on his personal philosophy, and how the fact that he is Jewish figured into his investigation.

Speaking to CNN host Fareed Zakariah on the GPS program, Goldstone said that he tried to be fair to both sides, and that any limitations on his investigation was due to a lack of resources.

For example, he said, his panel was unable to verify whether Israeli accusations that Hamas used Gaza Arabs as human shields in hospitals and schools were true or not. "We investigated specific incidents, we didn't find the Israeli claims to be justified," he told Zakaria, but added that did not mean that Israel's claims weren't true.

And, Goldstone said, he was certainly not anti-Israel. "I have great love for Israel and have worked for many Israeli causes. What saddens me is that Jews, whether inside or outside of Israel, think that because I am a Jew, I should not investigate Israel.

However, I believe I have a greater responsibility, as a Jew, to do so. If I have investigated war crimes in other countries, why should Israel be different? That should be welcomed," Goldstone said.

In general, he said, he believed Israel had the wrong idea about his mission. "We didn't question the right [of Israel] to defend itself, we looked at the method," he said.

Goldstone added that despite the report, Israel's actions could not be compared to war crimes around the world that have taken place in recent years, such as those committed in Yugoslavia. "I don't like making comparisons," he said.

He added that Israel's relationship to Gaza "is also not apartheid. I don't like that comparison, there are some similarities but there are more differences."

He added that he hoped his report would be an impetus for both Israel and Hamas to settle their differences in a peaceful manner. "No South African can be pessimistic regarding the chances for peace. We [South Africans] had an impossible situation and we were positive there would be a bloodbath. And thanks to good leadership, this was prevented.

And I am proud to say that today we have a wonderful democracy in South Africa. True, there are problems, but we are progressing in the right direction," he said.

Source: INN

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