Brig. Gen. Benayahu: Goldstone's words have immense public weight
02 April 2011 , 23:56
''If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document'', Goldstone. photography: ch 1

In an article published in the Washington Post on Friday, Judge Richard Goldstone wrote: "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

Jonatan Urich

"The article by Judge Goldstone, published in the Washington Post, has immense public weight," said IDF Spokesperson, Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu on Saturday (April 2).

In an opinion article published on Friday, Goldstone said that allegations that the IDF committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead were not true.

"In the end, [Goldstone] was guided by the same conscience and Jewish morality that guided us during the course of Operation Cast Lead," Brig. Gen. Benayahu said. "Goldstone also wants to keep his legal status and know that he can look himself in the mirror. I just hope that other groups in Israel and abroad who followed him, or even surpassed him, will know to be as honest as him."

In the article, Goldstone wrote, "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

In regard to allegations of war crimes by the IDF during Operation Cast Lead, Goldstone wrote, "Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes."

Goldstone added that while Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate its conduct during Operation Cast Lead, the Hamas government in Gaza has not carried out any investigations into mortar and rocket attacks against Israel.

Goldstone also criticized the U.N. Human Rights Council, writing that the council's "history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted."

Hundreds of meticulous investigations conducted by Chief Military Advocate General

The Chief Military Advocate General has conducted hundreds of investigations, both before and after the publication of the Goldstone Report, into various operational events that took place during Operation Cast Lead. In some cases, legal measures and disciplinary actions have been taken against those involved.

Since the end of Operation Cast Lead, the IDF has carried out a long and continuous process of investigating allegations made by various sources in regards to its conduct during the operation.

The IDF embarked on Operation Cast Lead after the hundreds of thousands of citizens of southern Israel had suffered from eight years of merciless Hamas attacks, including incessant rocket fire. Despite the attacks and casualties, Israel maintained a policy of restraint over a long time period.

Since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip, the terrorist organization has assimilated its military array and terrorist infrastructure into the heart of residential neighborhoods, using the civilian population of the Gaza Strip as a human shield.

The IDF used limited force and firepower during Operation Cast Lead. IDF soldiers faced a complex security reality in the midst of a densely populated area where Hamas cynically used the civilian population as a human shield. Hamas operated deliberately from residential homes, schools, kindergartens, mosques, hospitals and UN facilities.