Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Goldstone calls Netanyahu a liar; claims Lieberman doesn't want peace process

This is from the transcript of a conference call between Richard Goldstone and a selected group of rabbis:

A question was submitted to us by a rabbi, who notes that it comes from his grandson who is a student of international relations. How do you think that your report, with its harsh condemnation of Israel for rocket attacks, would impact the likelihood that Israel would risk a withdrawal from any places in Palestine? Israel has warned that acceptance of your report will damage the peace process. How do you respond and how do you see the connection between pursuit of peace and human rights?

I strongly believe that there can't be enduring or lasting peace without justice.

There won't be peace before victims are acknowledged -- victims on all sides! The victims of southern Israel need acknowledgment. Many phone calls were made by our staff to victims in southern Israel. It's important for them to get that acknowledgment. It saddens me that Israel has downgraded, to the point of ignoring, a pretty full treatment of the victimization and the terror caused by thousands of rockets to the people of Sderot and Ashkelon. The people there have suffered grievously. Their children live in fear every day of hearing air raid sirens. It's amazing that the death toll in southern Israel has been as low as it is.

It's important and I don't believe you can have a lasting peace until these things have been put on the table, looked at, investigated openly, the people responsible being prosecuted. A form of Truth and Reconciliation Commission as we had in South Africa. It needs to be done officially. Otherwise you may get a cease-fire but you're not going to get peace. That's my firm belief from the experience I've had in South Africa, Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and reading I've done about other places -- Chile and so on.

As far as the Israeli public is concerned: this was a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza. It wasn't done in pursuance of a peace treaty. It seems to have been driven by the politics of the situation, not done out of any motive of giving freedom or recognizing the right of self-determination of the people of Gaza at all. It had the effect of separating Gaza from the West Bank and should be seen for what it was, a political maneuver. If anybody thought that was going to bring peace for Gaza -- I don't believe there was ever any chance of that.

As far as the Israeli government saying our report inhibits the peace process, that is shallow and false. What peace process are they talking about? There isn't one! The Israeli foreign minister doesn't want one! What peace process are they talking about that's going to be inhibited?

Prime Minister Netanyahu (among others) has said that the Goldstone Report inhibits the 'peace process' because it makes it impossible for Israel to take risks. Goldstone calls that 'shallow and false' - in other words, a lie.