GAZA, - Families of some of the casualties laid to rest during the 2008-9 Israeli war on Gaza expressed shock over recent statements by Judge Richard Goldstone that he retracted his opinion that Israel had committed crimes during aggression.
Goldstone headed a UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission which submitted a report to the UN condemning Israel for targeting civilians and other human rights violations during the war. But he has recently rescinded the conclusion made in the report in an article in the Washington Post saying that if he knew then what he knows now, the report would have varied.
Meanwhile, casualty families in Gaza said they were disappointed after the so-called Goldstone report had for the last two years been tantamount to boost of morale for the possibility that Israeli occupation leaders would be tried and taken to justice.
Some of those families gave brief statements in interviews conducted by Hamas's media bureau in northern Gaza Strip on Monday. They said Goldstone's retraction has been tantamount to a ”shock” to international human rights organizations which tried to show some equity to the Palestinians through the report.
Mohammed Abu Askar, who lost two children and a brother during the aggression and who himself was one of the witnesses in the report, said that ever since the report was issued he felt a sense of justice, even though he commented that the report had actually equated between the ”victim and the executioner”.
”We believe the retraction came after pressure or extortion. But this is not an excuse to retract the report,” he said.
He emphasized that those who sustained damages in the war will continue to demand that Israel is brought to justice in the International Criminal Court and that the Goldstone report remains a tool for human rights groups, as it is based on verified testimonies and accounts of victimized families.
Muteea al-Selawi, who lost seven members of his family in the war, said that he has lost hope that international rights organizations would side with justice, as they have had a long track record of siding with Israel.
Subhi Semmouni said Goldstone's retraction was a ”setback” for victims' families, as the report had given hope that those who massacred children and women would be tried before courts of law. Semmouni had lost 20 family members in the war.
”The move gives Israel justification to repeat its massacres against the Palestinians,” said one Palestinian man Faraj Abdo Rabbo.
”We have lost trust in the world and all human rights centers, who did nothing to bring justice to the Palestinians or bring even one Israeli to the Israeli courts.”