The headlines in this morning’s newspapers, and indeed on the BBC last night, were: “Israel found guilty of war-crimes”. This followed the publication of Richard Goldstone’s 600-page report which, forgive me, I haven’t read yet. I wonder, though, if those reporting the findings are not guilty of a little unconscious racism.
Goldstone found both Israel AND Hamas guilty of war crimes which might also be crimes against humanity – but the culpability of Hamas was only a secondary feature of the reportage, and scarcely mentioned at all in some reports. It seems to me that, in news terms, it was assumed that it was a better story that Israel copped half of the blame because, after all, ‘what does one expect from a bunch of murderous fundamentalist ragheads?’
In fact the only mitigating factor as far as Hamas is concerned is that their missiles were either bloody useless or incompetently operated: the intent – to kill, indiscriminately, Israeli civilians – was unquestionably the aspiration, and achieved on several occasions. And reading between the few lines I have read one might go further: that while Israel was criminally negligent, especially in its use of white phosphorus explosives, its chief aim was not to murder “innocent” civilians. Whereas that was the precise aim of Hamas, which does not recognize the notion of “innocent” Israeli civilians.
I suppose it will not come as much of a consolation to the relatives of those Gazans murdered that Israel had not primarily wished to kill them, mind. No matter how even handed Goldstone’s inquiry, the British apologists for Hamas will continue to assert that for historical reasons they are the only victims, and the apologists for Israel will assert that for historical reasons it is they who are the victims.