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Operation Protective Edge

by  Paul Wessels.

The Goldstone Report: The Legacy of the Landmark Investigation of the Gaza Conflict
Adam Horowitz, Lizzy Ratner, Philip Weiss (Eds)
Nation Books, 2011

On Thursday 24 July 2014 I held a readathon of the abridged version of the “Goldstone Report”, at Rhodes University. I sold it as a Mandela Week event to get it onto the university’s email list, for my motivations were selfish: I needed to alleviate the impotent rage I felt at witnessing yet another round of bloodlust from the so-called Jewish State of Israel. I also hoped to dispel the media image that these attacks were anything new. I was disappointed that only three people bothered to join me, but perhaps that is what I deserved.

I’ve had a copy of The Goldstone Report for a few years and have mined it for information but I have never been able to read through the document as a whole. The document unveils the “Cast Lead” programme of ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel in Gaza in 2008/9, through detailed investigation, meticulous evaluation and eloquent presentation of victims’ testimonies. These testimonies give evidence of a litany of savagery, depravity, systematic destruction of property, widespread and deliberate coldblooded murder of civilians, deliberate spillage of raw sewage on hectares of agricultural land and the wholesale slaughter of cooped-up chickens by means of a bulldozer, in one incident spending hours going back and forth over some 30 000 of them.

So serious were the findings of the report that even the prime minister of Israel found it necessary to refer to Judge Goldstone, who headed up the mission, as “the Goldstone threat”. Our own chief rabbi, Warren Goldstein, felt that Goldstone was “delegitimising Israel”, and Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz called him the UN’s “token court Jew”, and a “despicable human being”.

It is true that Judge Goldstone then “recanted” or “changed his mind”, but the findings of The Goldstone Report have not changed in any way. Nor has the situation changed. These findings could now no doubt be supplemented by a fresh round of reports of grave crimes perpetrated in the course of the seven-week ethnic cleansing programme only lightly euphemised as operation “Protective Edge”.

My soul felt as if it had been ripped out of me as I stood in front of my audience of three, reading aloud 20 chapters of the report, annihilated through the overriding slide of sewage-Arabs-chickens. For it is this slide into equivalence that the actions of the soldiers and commanders of the army of the Jewish state demonstrate in case after case: everything not Jewish is one, and utterly without value, secular or religious, animal or vegetable or mineral. It is this that The Goldstone Report’s findings document for posterity with relentless, remorseless clarity.

covers together


This story features in the new edition of Chronic Books, the supplement to the Chronic. Through dispatches, features, interviews and reviews, we explore the reach of public relations and petrodollars.

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