Avnery also commented on the reaction of Israelis to the accusations of Israel committing war crimes:
The instinctive reaction in such a situation is denial. It's just not true. It never happened. It's all a pack of lies.
By itself, that is a natural reaction. When a human being is faced with a situation which he cannot handle, denial is the first refuge. If things did not happen, there is no need to cope. Basically, there is no difference between the deniers of the Armenian genocide, the deniers of the annihilation of the Native Americans and the deniers of the atrocities of all wars.
From this point of view, it can be said that denial is almost "normal". But with us it has been developed into an art form.
Zeev Sternhell, emeritus professor at the Hebrew University and winner of the 2008 Israel Prize for Political Science, published the following comment on the UN Inquiry.
The Goldstone report was inevitable. Even if it is not balanced, even if it does not take Hamas into account properly - it has sounded a harsh warning signal by expressing the international public's attitude toward Israel after Gaza. The bottom line is that Operation Cast Lead has contributed another brick to the wall of delegitimization that is gradually closing in on the Jewish state. Even if no Israeli is brought to court in The Hague in the near future, the moral stain will not be erased and the repercussions are yet to be seen.
Here is a more cynical assessment of the Goldstone Report written by an Israeli journalist:
....the Goldstone Report will go to the shelf, the Occupation will continue, and so will Palestinian suffering. To cope with the present reality is more complex than putting people on the stand for war crimes. The reality is that Israel is ruled by the Right, which is nowadays attracting part of the Left. On the Palestinian side, the reality is a war between two rival factions that care more for power than for their people. The hope in Obama diminishes as he runs into troubles at home: to pass health reform, regulate Wall Street, and allow more freedom for unions. That is why he was weak when facing Netanyahu, and that is why the Goldstone Report will remain a toothless indictment. The end of the Occupation will have to wait until real change occurs in the United States. Only then can change come to Israel and the PA. Until that time, the facts in this damning report will amount to no more than a reprimand.
Here is another comment on the Goldstone Report, however, this time from Sever Plocker, a right-wing Israeli commentator, who praises Ariel Sharon for his restraint.
In diplomatic terms, Operation Cast Lead's implications are destructive: Our diplomatic standing had not been so lowly for years, and at the end of the day we may very well end up at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
In praise of Sharon's way
We can continue raising a hue and cry about the "injustice! Hypocrisy! Anti-Semitism" for however long we wish, yet the screaming won't help us. The snowball is already rolling, and it is doubtful whether anyone can stop it. I hope I'm wrong, but an international arrest warrant for some of Israel's leaders during the Gaza operation is no longer a bad dream. This may happen, as Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear in his Knesset speech.
Even if no Israeli ends up facing justice at The Hague, the Goldstone Report will remain etched in the consciousness of the intellectual elites in the West and the incited masses in the Muslim world. This indictment against Israel among the gravest ever drafted will hurt us for years to come. There is no erasure that can erase the mark of Cain this report left on our forehead. It is an outrageous report that constitutes a crude blood libel but it's a fact.
I have no doubt that had Ariel Sharon served as prime minister, Operation Cast Lead would never have been launched. Sharon led the State of Israel during a particularly brutal Palestinian terror war, and was able to win it. To that end he utilized a comprehensive strategy ranging from targeted eliminations (which in my view are the most moral and effective means in the fight against terror leaders and ideologists) to isolating the leadership in Ramallah and Operation Defensive Shield, which was cautious, purposeful, resulted in few casualties, and secured its objectives.
Not once during his war against the Intifada did Sharon consider or order the utilization of massive firepower vis-Ã-vis the Palestinians as was the case in Operation Cast Lead. When many around him urged and encouraged him to "respond recklessly" after every murderous terror attack, he continued to object to massive bombings and continued to approve the targeted eliminations of senior Hamas figures. Restraint is power, said Sharon before he fell ill; restraint, rather than a "reckless response."
After much delay, and in response to the Goldstone Report, the Israeli Military Police have "launched a new criminal investigation into allegations that soldiers committed war crimes during Operation Cast Lead,...amid efforts by the IDF to complete a report to counter the accusations leveled at it by the Goldstone Commission." In early November 2009 Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi appointed Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yuval Halamish, a former chief intelligence officer, as the "project manager" for the IDF's efforts to complete a new report in the coming weeks to answer the accusations raised in Goldstone's report.