Richard Falk in Al-Ahram:
So why did the Israeli government boycott the commission? The real answer is quite simple: they knew full well that the commission, any commission, would have to reach the conclusions it did reach.
— Uri Avnery, Israeli peace activist and former Knesset member
Richard Goldstone, former judge of South Africa's Constitutional Court, the first prosecutor at The Hague on behalf of the International Criminal Court for Former Yugoslavia, and anti-apartheid campaigner reports that he was most reluctant to take on the job of chairing the UN fact-finding mission charged with investigating allegations of war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas during the three-week Gaza War of last winter. Goldstone explains that his reluctance was due to the issue being “deeply charged and politically loaded”, and was overcome only because he and his fellow commissioners were “professionals committed to an objective, fact-based investigation”, adding that “above all, I accepted because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war,” as well as the duty to protect civilians to the extent possible in combat zones. The four-person fact-finding mission was composed of widely respected and highly qualified individuals, including distinguished international law scholar Christine Chinkin, a professor at the London School of Economics. Undoubtedly adding complexity to Goldstone's decision is the fact that he is Jewish, with deep emotional and family ties to Israel and Zionism, bonds solidified by his long association with several organisations active in Israel.