Damage control

Damage control

What was he thinking? Can anyone be that naïve? Given the current political atmosphere – especially in the United Nations – where Israel has never had a fair hearing or been handed a level playing field, did Richard Goldstone actually think his report would help the cause of peace?

How absurd, and how sad.

According to Tuesday’s Jerusalem Post, “Judge Richard Goldstone criticized the wording of the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution that endorsed his fact-finding commission’s report on Operation Cast Lead, saying the resolution was wrong to targeting only Israel while failing to condemn Hamas.”

All we can say is: Duh.

Said Goldstone: “This draft resolution saddens me as it includes only allegations against Israel…. There is not a single phrase condemning Hamas as we have done in the report. I hope that the council can modify the text.”

Where was his voice, crying out for fairness, before the Security Council took up the resolution?

Sure, he said, “If this was a court of law, there would have been nothing proven.” But it did enter a court – the court of public opinion and misinformation – and that is a much more treacherous arena.

Words have consequences, as we have argued in this space so many times before. And consequences from the report are already being felt, limiting Israel’s options as well as those of the United States.

Turkey has gone from peacemaker to antagonist and the Palestinian Authority has less incentive to talk peace, while both the PA and Hamas have become more outspoken in their denunciation of Israel,

Syria is less inclined to be friendly, and some analysts suggest that regional stability has been severely undermined.

Whether any good can yet come out of this remains to be seen. Some suggest that if Israel extends an olive branch – showing the country’s good faith by freezing settlements and launching a Gaza probe – all will be well. But wait, because Hamas was similarly accused of ill-doing in the report, should it not make a peace overture as well?

Fairness aside, and that’s where it has been placed, one can only hope that both sides, recognizing the importance of peace, will work together to minimize the very damaging impact of Goldstone’s work. Ken yehi ratzon.