Gaza investigation to move forward

Mark rightfully expressed dismay last month when the Israeli government signaled that it would not cooperate with a UN investigation into alleged crimes (on both sides) during the December 2008-January 2009 Operation Cast Lead, even though the mission was to be lead by a respected jurist, Richard Goldstone, on whom any claim of anti-Israel or anti-Semitic bias would, by all accounts, fall objectively flat. Israel’s position hasn’t changed, but Goldstone’s team is saying that they will be moving forward with the investigation, even with the regrettable non-participation of the Israeli government.

This is obviously not the ideal situation, because Goldstone’s inquiry is not a confrontational one. There are two entrances to Gaza, but the appearance of going through Egypt is likely even less palatable to the investigation’s critics than the notion of the investigation itself. This is what makes Israel’s stubborn refusal to cooperate so wrong-headed: the mission was supposed to travel to Israeli towns to investigate Palestinian rocket fire, but will be unable to do so if it is not allowed into Israel. The Israeli government has a legitimate interest in not wanting the investigation to be or appear one-sided; but the best way to ensure that would have been to work with the investigators, not make their job more difficult and create a self-fulfilling prophecy of bias in the process.