Richard Goldstone wrote an op-ed on the Washington Post called Reconsidering the Goldstone Resport on Israel and War Crimes. On it, there is no news: Israel is investing considerable resources investigating 400 or so allegations of misconduct from the report, while Hamas has done nothing of the sort – unsurprising since it was always clear that Hamas targeted civilians purposefully.
The sad part is that this editorial will not even get a fraction of the press that the original report received., but at least it’s being mentioned, even on Al-Jazeera. A lot of damage was done to Israel’s image because of the conclusions reached in the report and this retraction will not undo that. But you owe it to yourself to read the article on the Washington Post.
Israel deserves blame for what happened. They were not ready at all for the kind of violence encountered. Had they been properly prepared and equipped, the soldiers would not have been lowered one by one only to be lynched, and they would not have been put in a situation in which they were forced to protect themselves through force. It was a failure of logistics and of intelligence.
But the organizers of the flotilla deserve equal or greater blame, and this is not what I read in the press. A supposedly peaceful demonstration to bring humanitarian aid should not have members or terrorist organizations nor people who support violence against Israel on board. They should not have brutally attacked anyone. It was clear they were looking for a confrontation when Israel offered to transfer all aid cargo on the ships into Gaza as long as the flotilla agreed to first dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod for a weapons inspection before-hand… but it was not clear they were looking for such level of violent confrontation and blood.
Israel was clumsy, unprepared, and fell for a clear trap. The loss of life is regretful, and so is the lack of honesty with properly assigning the blame on the events. And remember, it’s not Israel who is impeding the lifting of the blockade in Gaza. It is Hamas who needs to meet the demands of the international community to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. Once they do it, the blockade will be open.
But I don’t think anyone in that flotilla has the desire of reminding Hamas of that little fact.
Last Saturday I attended a performance by The Israeli-Palestinian Comedy Tour. This is a group of four stand up comedians, three of them Jewish and one Palestinian. The show was at the JCAA so the vast majority of the audience was Jewish. Interesting timing with Operation Cast Lead in Gaza serving as background.
The show lasted a little under two hours. They opened with a short sketch and then each of the comedians did a stand up routine. They were very funny and I recommend the show. By far the funniest was Ray Hanania, also a journalist and the sole Palestininan in the group; and the only one who covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a more direct manner. The rest did a more generic Jewish/Israeli routine – lots of it centered around Israeli driving habits and circumsicion.
While The Israeli Palestinian Comedy Tour does a great job of exposing the views and voice of a moderate but less vocal majority in the conflict using humor, it’s disappointing when you take a closer look: None of the members were actually born in Israel or Palestine. Two of the three Jews in the group are recent converts. No muslims either. I couldn’t say they are exactly perfect insiders to the issues at hand nor the best demographical representation one could have hoped for.