Goldstone panel member accused of bias


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A member of the Goldstone Commission was biased against Israel and used flawed methodology in arriving at his conclusions, according to a new report.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, led by former Israeli U.S. Ambassador Dore Gold, released on Wednesday what it called "New Revelations About the U.N. Goldstone Report that Seriously Undermine its Credibility."

According to the report, a member of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission that produced the Goldstone report, retired Irish Col. Desmond Travers, said there were only "something like two" rockets that fell on Israel prior to the start of last year’s Gaza war, the report said. Travers was the senior figure responsible for the military analysis that provided the basis for condemning Israel for war crimes.

Israeli military sources found that there were 32 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel over three days alone between Dec. 16 and 18, according to the Jerusalem Center.

The Jerusalem Center accused Travers of demonstrating a fundamental bias against the Israel Defense Forces during the fact-finding mission. In a Feb. 2 interview with Middle East Monitor, Travers asserted that Israeli soldiers had "taken out and deliberately shot" Irish peacekeeping forces in Southern Lebanon, a false statement. 

The center said that "one of the most vicious and unsubstantiated conclusions in the Goldstone Report is the suggestion that Israel deliberately killed Palestinian civilians."

Travers also showed a lack of professionalism during interviews for the mission, including making sweeping generalizations such as saying that no weapons were hidden in mosques in Gaza, the report said. The commission only inspected two mosques, according to the center, and the Israeli army provided photographic evidence of weapons stored in mosques that Travers rejected.

Travers also said in a recent interview, according to the Jerusalem Center, that "Britain’s foreign policy interests in the Middle East seem to be influenced strongly by Jewish lobbyists," implying that British Jews have interests that differ from Britain’s own national interests and that Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s government is influenced by these considerations.

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