Monday, April 04, 2011

Goldstone Redux

Some 20 months ago Justice Goldstone, at the behest of the UN HRC, presented the report of his committee on 'Operation Cast Lead'. In the ensuing time its formal presentation to that body and to the General assembly has been stonewalled. That is probably, in retrospect, a good thing, for Justice Goldstone has had, we are told, a notable change of heart in regard to his report.

 In an opinion piece in yesterday's Washington Post the good justice claims that had he known then, what he has learned since, that report would be significantly different.

The elucidation he cites is, essentially, that the IDF has proceeded to investigate its peccadilloes while HAMAS has not. Ergo the IDF perspective - that they would not deliberately target civilians, becomes, for him, the lingua franca in which the report should have been written. He goes on to describe how, in at least two investigations that have actually been concluded - somebody, an officer in one case ( up on a charge for careless interpretation of some drone imagery that gave rise to the destruction of a house and the family in it) has been charged. Although the charge has been laid, the case has yet to make its way through an IDF court. And, probably, with the same results that saw numerous military incidents described as 'mistakes made in the heat of battle'. Another investigation saw an enlisted man convicted of theft of a credit card he was careless enough to use to buy some treats for himself when he got back to base.

The good Justice doesn't have much to say about the 'battle' which saw 7 IDF soldiers killed - 5 in friendly -fire incidents,  as opposed to 1100 fairly-definable civilians and 300 fairly-identifiable HAMAS fighters. The 'battle' would seem to have been quite one-sided. So much for a  'measured response'. There were other glaring incidents, reported by the Red Cross and UN observers, that have not yet been investigated - like the shooting of an ambulance crew trying to evacuate wounded, and the use of WP munitions on a UN school known to be used as a refuge. Justice Goldstone is convinced it was all done with the best of intentions. Hamas, he's equally as sure, now shares their part of the blame all alone. Actually they share all the blame, for although he doesn't say it, they 'made' the IDF 'have' to do it.

I'm inclined to think that this is an exercise to draw the world's attrention to the story of the Fogel family - mentioned, as it is, in his newpaper piece, and its getting 'lost' amid the news about Libya two weeks ago. The western press may have not played the 'massacre' as well as it might have been, but the electronic 'hebrew blog-o-sphere' certainly 'did it up right'. The Justice would have to be a Haman of sorts, to side with such monsters. In fact he's getting still such a reaction from some of his co-religionists for writing  that report (and encouraging such killers) at all. The other half of the crowd is calling to the 'World Pilate' in New York to 'wash its hands' of the report entirely and wondering if 'prestige' levels will improve enough for another 'free hand' in Gaza.

I'm inclined to think another poke at Gaza  is the ultimate point.  The recent murder of the Fogels put the blocks to another attempt to 'mend fences' between the West Bank and Gaza. 'Abu Mazen's' little foray to the camps had to be delayed so he could lend a hand in the 'razzas' the IDF pulled-off to 'round up the usual suspects'. So far none have been charged. A shipping container of weapons was confiscated from a Turkish ship sailing to Egypt. A number of rockets and a fairly large array of mortar bombs and  tubes were displayed for the public. One of the results was an uptick on fence security at Gaza with a spate of bombing and shooting incidents along the perimeter, and the launching of an increased number of retaliatory rockets and mortars. Noises being made last week, when a rocket actually hit a house, were reaching the "intolerable" level and the 'price', Cast Lead 2,  was being tossed around.

Mr Netanyahu is doing his darnedest to restrain the 'war dogs' in his cabinet, but even his 'patience' is worn thin.It wouldn't take much to unleash  another live-fire exercise on the Gazans. Maybe Mr. Goldstone, by recanting his report on the last one, has set the stage for the next one. Ironic, sort of.

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