The report of a commission chaired by a respected South African judge,
Richard Goldstone, arrived at the conclusion that “by launching, in some
cases, attacks against civilians without military objectives” (during the
Israeli military operation in Gaza in December-January) the Israeli armed
forces have committed “acts comparable to war crimes and maybe by
certain aspects to crimes against humanity.” Terrible accusation, and if the
report acknowledges that the Israeli army made ” significant efforts to warn
the civilians before attacks”, it blames them for having been ineffective
and it urges Israel to conduct an independent and honest national
investigation within 6 months, failing to do so will have the israeli
officers sent back by the Security Council to the International Criminal
Court in The Hague.

The report rightly points out that there was in this battle, scandalous burs on
the part of the Palestinians and the Israelis (who opened fire at civilians
and on their own soldiers and used phosphorous shells), but it is also full
of errors, revealing a fundamental question for democracies.

Written at the request of a UN Human Rights Committee, where dictatorships
dominate, it repeatedly refers to Israel as “the enemy” and it does not
recall that the Hebrew state has withdrawn unilaterally; it does not say
that Tsahal, before answering, had received 12.000 rockets fired from Gaza;
it does not mention the testimonial of the inhabitants of Sderot, constantly
bombarded, though questioned by the committee, but quotes at length the
testimonials of Gazans all heard during televised broadcasts, that is to say in
an atmosphere of terror, which leads them to deny that Hamas forced
civilians to serve as human shields, which is though what the leaders of
this movement boasted about.

Moreover, the report dares to say, without fear of ridicule, that
in Israel, only democracy in the region, exists “a repression of dissent”,
demonstrating an incredible ignorance of the reality of a country where a
Minister of defense and a Prime Minister have been forced to resign by a
march of more than one tenth of the population of the country (can we
imagine a march of more than six million French people?). And Israel will
surely confirm it by appointing a Committee of independent inquiry which
will sanction, once more, those who have made errors, or may be even crimes
in the conduct of these operations.

But this report is also very revealing of the changing attitude of some
international institutions with respect to Israel, who now want to deny
Israel the right to self- defense: according to the International
committee of the Red Cross, in charge of the laws of war, this right,
recognized however by article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, could
not be applied against terrorists whom it would be necessary to arrest and
to judge as common law criminals, and not fight as enemies.

The other democracies should be wary: If they let Israel be treated
that way, they will be the next victims of this jurisprudence, because it
will be required also from them that which cannot obviously be demanded to
their opponents.