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Goldstone report: Israel


By jimstaro - Posted on 06 April 2011

Goldstone report: the unanswered questions

Indiscriminate warfare, as opposed to deliberate killing, was undoubtedly Israel's state policy

6 April 2011 - It is difficult, in this digital world of instant claim and rebuttal, to say that you were wrong. But Richard Goldstone's retraction of one of the claims of the report that he chaired – that Israel targeted civilians in the war on Gaza as a matter of policy – is one such instance. Mr Goldstone deserves credit for honesty. It is another matter altogether to decide whether all the other claims of a 575-page report are now invalidated. The Goldstone report was a fact-finding mission, not a judicial inquiry. It was not a document of verdict, but put forward evidence for further investigation. So which facts caused Mr Goldstone to retract? Three, principally: that the shelling of a home in which 22 members of one family died was the consequence of an Israeli commander's erroneous interpretation of a drone image; that the officer was still under investigation; and that Israel has since investigated over 400 allegations of operational misconduct. Had he known then what he knows now, he concludes, the report would have been very different.

Two of the three other members of the mission disagree with their former chairman's change of heart. Hina Jilani, who served on a similar fact-finding mission on Darfur, said that nothing changed the substance of the original report, and Desmond Travers, an expert on international criminal investigations, still feels the tenor of the report stands "in its entirety". {continued}

Record number of Palestinians made homeless by demolitions

RAMALLAH, 6 April 2011 (IRIN) - The number of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem demolished by Israeli authorities increased for the third consecutive month in March, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Since January, Israeli authorities have demolished 176 Palestinian buildings, displacing 333 people, including 154 children. β€œThe West Bank is where the future Palestinian state is meant to be situated, and its viability is being reduced with each demolition,” UNRWA spokesperson in Jerusalem Chris Gunness said.

In March, 77 buildings were demolished compared with 29 in January and 70 in February.

Half of the demolished structures were houses, while the rest included stables, which can be just as valuable to a herding community as a house, Gunness said.

The number of Palestinians made homeless by these demolitions also hit a record monthly high, according to UNRWA, with 158 affected in March (including 64 children) compared to 70 in January and 105 in February. {continued}

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