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Jerome Slater Headshot

What a Relief!

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In November 2009 the Goldstone Commission issued its report on human rights violations during Israel's attack on Gaza earlier that year. The Commission concluded that both Israel and Hamas had committed "war crimes" during the fighting, and it recommended that each side conduct an honest internal investigation into the matter, and within three months report to the UN General Assembly its findings and potential judicial action. If this was not done, the Commission further recommended, the General Assembly should turn the matter over to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes charges against political and military leaders of both sides.

Both before and after the Goldstone report, a number of international and Israeli human rights organizations conducted their own investigations, and issued reports confirming Goldstone: both Israel and Hamas--but overwhelmingly Israel--had committed a number of violations of human rights, some of them so grave as to amount to punishable war crimes. Indeed, all these reports just confirmed and added detail to what was already obvious to anyone who had followed the daily news reports during the Israeli attack, particularly in the New York Times and the leading Israeli newspaper, Haaretz. As Amira Hass, the prize-winning Haaretz journalist had written earlier, "The Goldstone Commission's findings are in line with what anyone who didn't shut his or her eyes and ears to witness testimony already knows."

However, today's Haaretz reports that that Defense Minister Barak says that "This morning we handed the UN a report of the investigations and operations that took place during Operation Cast Lead [the Israeli attack on Gaza] ... This report stresses that the IDF is like no other army, both from a moral standpoint as well as from a professional standpoint."

Whew! Well, that's it. Israel is now off the hook.