Goldstone’s acceptance of these closed investigations by the Israeli military of itself represented a dramatic turnaround. In an in-depth interview with the Forward in October 2009, he explicitly rejected such probes as inherently flawed.
“If I was advising Israel, I would say have open investigations,” he told the Forward then. He offered the example of Israel’s investigation into the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacres by an independent panel appointed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin as a model to emulate. The call for an open and independent investigation was one he repeated at his May meeting in South Africa, citing this as “the first and primary” recommendation of his U.N. report.
To those who know Goldstone, this willingness to relax his initial standards indicates a desire to soften the impact of his report on Israel, in particular as the enormity of this impact was driven home to him.