Know More About Palestine

Wednesday April 6, 2011 4:01 PM (EST+7)

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.

In 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 the conflict.

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.






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