Let's get a run down on the major stories happening here in Israel.
Judge Goldstone's Op-ed in the Washington Post continues to be a headliner in various forms. The assessment in the government is that there is a Slim chance to cancel the UN report that stated Israel, along with Hamas, my had commited war crimes and crimes against humanity during it's operaration Cast Lead in Gaza. Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has appointed a team to leverage Goldstone's article and maximize it's potential to reverse damage done. Most here are angry about what has happened while others say his actions took great amounts of courage. There is a split in the media's reation, with some saying he didn't go far enough while others say that nothing can undo the damage his UN report has done. In one interesting development, he was telephoned by a prominent member of the Knesset who is also part of the Government's cabinet and invited to visit Sderdot – the town hit most heavily by the rockets of the militants from Gaza. Mr. Goldstone excepted, and we will then expect to see him in July.
Many here still are asking the question as to why the Judge did has 'about-face'. Some now believe that Mr. Goldstone was alarmed by the recent actions of the Hague. People are saying that for some time now Judge Goldstone has felt that the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva was making political use of his report. After Geneva decided about a week and a half ago to enable IDF soldiers to be tried at the international court, the Judge decided to issue his regrets. Israeli Officers believe that with Mr. Goldstone's piece, that their exposure to potential related claims will be reduced.
Next up is Israel's senior statesman Shimon Peres, President of the State of Israel, is visiting the White House. He brings with him some diplomatic and political solutions to how to make peace with the Palestinians. He is also seeking the release of the convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. Mr. Perez has assured President Obama that Israel will cooperate for peace in the Middle East – something President Obama believes is necessary given the recent turmoil over most of the region.
Looking again at Gaza related stories, Israel has officially filed charges against a Palestinian man abducted by Israeli agents in the Ukraine a few days ago. Israel's security agency has said that the man, who was an engineer at Gaza's power plant, has aided Hamas in the development of longer range rockets. The buzz around the arrest was that he had information on Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held in Gaza for the last 1745 days, but there was no reference to information on Shalit in the indictment. The man denies all charges.
Be sure to catch me tomorrow, live on the Harvest Show, for all the latest news from here in Jerusalem.
Middle East Correspondent