Richard Goldstone, Head of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, after the presentation of its report to the Human Rights Council (Geneva, Sept 2009 - UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre)

In a stunning development in the history of the Middle East, the author of the U.N.’s scurrilous, anti-Semitic, anti-Israel “Goldstone Report” has finally looked carefully at the evidence and concluded after two years of more study and more careful evaluation that the evidence proves that Israel did not target innocent civilians in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead in 2009.  It’s about time.

In a Washington Post op-ed published on Friday, Richard Goldstone conceded that the facts paint a far different picture that what his U.N. report indicated when it was initially published. Indeed, he admitted that the Israeli government “dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza,” and proved that those allegations were untrue, that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” By sharp contrast, Goldstone also admitted that Hamas has “not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel” and, in fact, continues to allow — or support — such attacks against innocent Israeli citizens, which he finally called “heinous acts” of terrorism.

Goldstone’s retraction is a dramatic vindication for Israel, and I thank the God of Israel for prompting it.  Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has now called on the U.N. to formally and officially retract the entire Goldstone Report.  “There are very few instances in which those who disseminate libels retract their libel,” Netanyahu said on Sunday. “This happened in the case of the Goldstone report. This leads us to call for the immediate cancellation of the Goldstone report.” A Hamas spokesman, meanwhile, said that “Goldstone’s retreat is reprehensible.”

That said, Goldstone’s op-ed cannot undue the tremendous damage that has already been done. For the last several years, world governments, human rights activists and Israel’s enemies have used the Goldstone Report as “proof” that Israel is a blood-thirsty, uncivilized, cruel and oppressive country that deliberately targets Palestinian civilians for death and destruction. This has now been proven patently untrue, but in the meantime the Goldstone Report has caused incalculable damage to Israel’s reputation, and has been used to delegitimize Israel’s right to defend herself against Hamas attacks. Hundreds of millions of anti-Semitic Muslims (and untold Europeans) have already heard what they wanted to hear and won’t listen to or care about Goldstone’s change of mind, even though he has finally looked carefully at the facts. Let us pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would change hearts and minds throughout the region and the world and bring peace to Jerusalem and the epicenter. The U.N. doesn’t offer a ray of hope. Only Christ does.