The Goldstone committee examined closely the cause of deaths of the 1,387 Palestinians who perished, and the degree of damage to the various areas. The conclusion was that the civilian areas were targeted and the devastation was deliberate. Again, the criticism of Israel in the Goldstone report is justified.
He has called on the United States, Israel and others who dispute the accuracy of the report to conduct an independent investigation of their own. Hamas leaders have announced that their investigation is under way, but Israel has rejected Judge Goldstone’s request.
Putting this dispute aside, it is important to examine present circumstances and the need to prevent further suffering. The rocket fire from Gaza is now being severely restrained, perhaps because of the certainty of Israeli retaliation, but the punishment of the 1.5 million Palestinian inhabitants of Gaza continues. Now and for the past 10 months, Israel has not permitted cement, lumber, panes of glass, or other building materials to pass their entry points into Gaza. Several hundred thousand homeless people suffered through last winter in a few tents, under plastic sheets, or huddled in caves dug into the debris of their former homes. The weather was warmer when I was there several months later, but the description of suffering through the winter cold was heartbreaking.
Another winter is now approaching, and neither the Israelis nor the international community has taken steps to alleviate the Gazans’ plight.