April 04, 2011

Goldstone Retracts War Crimes Claim against Israel The chairman of the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding team that accused Israel of possibly committing war crimes during the 2008-09 Gaza war effectively retracted those claims on Friday [April 1] in an Op-Ed in The Washington Post. Judge Richard Goldstone, of the UN’s Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, said in The Washington Post that if he had known then what he knew now, the report would have been different. He said Israel’s own investigations into the war which were recognized in a UN follow-up committee’s report have indicated that “civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.” The Israelis welcomed Goldstone’s comments, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying in a statement posted on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site that the UN should shelve the original Goldstone Report. “Everything we said has proven to be true: Israel did not intentionally harm civilians, its institutions and investigative bodies are worthy, while Hamas intentionally fired upon innocent civilians and did not examine anything [of accusations of war crimes],” said Netanyahu. “The fact that Goldstone backtracked must lead to the shelving of this report once and for all.” Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Mark Regev, in an interview with Bridges for Peace, noted the importance of Goldstone’s comments. “We think that this is a very significant admission,” said Regev. “Ultimately, if the author of the report says the report is not accurate, there’s no reason for the United Nations to lend any credence to this report.”


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