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"Goldstone admits that he also refused the appointment – at least initially. "More than hesitate, I initially refused to become involved in any way [with the inquiry], on the basis of what seemed to me to be a biased, uneven-handed resolution of the UN Human Rights Council," he explained. But he felt comfortable enough to proceed when the then-president of the Council, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, purportedly expanded the mission’s mandate for him, even though the enabling resolution behind the inquiry would remain unchanged, and though he would still be accountable to the Council that passed this resolution. How GOLDSTONE could have considered his personal conversation with Uhomoibhi sufficient to quell his fears is surprising to say the least. One-sided or not, the mandate in the enabling Human Rights Council resolution is the one that determined the scope and tenor of the "fact-finding" mission. Uhomoibhi could no more have altered that mandate unilaterally than Goldstone could have himself, in defiance of the Council." " Indeed, before the mission began – as if to add insult to injury – Chinkin notoriously signed her name to a public letter that was titled "Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence – it’s a war crime." Why she feels qualified at this point to hear witness evidence along with the rest of the commission – without triggering a reasonable apprehension of bias – is not entirely clear. Rather than bestow legitimacy upon the Council’s mandate, Goldstone’s role should have been to act as a corrective. Now occupying the same Jewish figurehead role that I would have in 2006, he does not appear to have realized this fact." "But the problem is not that Israel seeks to be above the law; it is that Israel has been systematically denied equality before the law in the international arena. The issue is not whether Israel must respect human rights, but that the human rights of Israel and its people have not been respected. The discrimination emerges not from suggesting that human rights standards should be applied to Israel – which they must be – but from the fact that these standards have not been applied equally to anyone else. It is on this basis that the Goldstone Commission should be opposed: not because it represents an objective inquiry into Israel – because independent and impartial inquiries should be welcomed by democracies – but precisely because it does not represent such an objective inquiry." "In brief: We should be looking for the Goldstone report not just to mention Hamas’s violations of international law, but to identify them as the root cause of the Gaza conflict. Simply put, if there had been no Hamas war crimes, there would have been no need for an Israeli response. As the Goldstone inquiry is currently set up, however, expecting such an analysis to emerge clearly from its final report is likely unduly optimistic."