Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
Israeli media reacted strongly to the report issued by the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which criticised both the Israeli military and Palestinian militants for actions that could be considered war crimes during the December-January Gaza War. A “declaration of war” and “classic anti-Semitism” against Israel were some of the descriptions used by the Israeli media . (Read more about the report here.)
The media reports noted that Justice Richard Goldstone, a South African, is Jewish.
Media coverage in Israel generally addressed the question of the report’s factual accuracy. Commentators also cited fears in Israel that on the basis of the report, its military officers and politicians could face foreign prosecution, during overseas trips, for alleged crimes against humanity. All agreed the Goldstone report would cause further damage to Israel’s international image.
“Hundreds of millions throughout the world were exposed to [the report], and they do not read the details (in this case, the negative details), but only buy the headlines. In their eyes, we are war criminals, contemptible people, killers of small children,” wrote Eitan Haber in a commentary which ran under the headline “This is a declaration of war” in the leading Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. “This, at the moment, is the image that is being created for us throughout the world as villains, evil, cruel, murderers.”
Israel’s military has been hit with a barrage of human rights reports this week. One, by the Israeli human rights group Gisha, criticises Israel’s policy of banning Palestinians from leaving the Gaza strip. The Red Cross has also filed a report, “Gaza: 1.5 Million People Trapped in Despair,” as well as a film(Gaza: Paying the Price) criticising Israel’s three-week incursion into Gaza last winter, known as “Operation Cast Lead.”
Meanwhile, former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone has begun collecting evidence about Operation Cast Lead for the UN Human Rights Council.