Netanyahu to U.N.: Throw out Goldstone Report


netanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu called on the United Nations Saturday to retract a controversial war crimes report on the Jewish state’s 2008-09 conflict with Hamas in Gaza after its author said that new evidence had nullified some of the document’s most damning conclusions.

Richard Goldstone, the South African jurist who chaired the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict that produced what came to be known as the “Goldstone Report”, wrote an op-ed in today’s Washington Post – posted here on – in which he said that “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.”

The report accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” in the 22-day conflict and called on both parties to launch their own internal investigations. In his op-ed, Mr. Goldstone praised Israeli authorities for launching probes into some 400 incidents (“Hamas has done nothing,” he wrote).

Mr. Goldstone also appeared to reverse himself on the report’s most controversial claim-that the Israeli army had targeted innocent civilians during the war as a matter of policy.

“Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life,” Mr. Goldstone wrote, “I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.”

The Israeli government refused to cooperate with Goldstone’s commission on the grounds that the United Nations – and particularly the U.N. Human Rights Council, the body that ordered the report – has shown a longstanding bias against the Jewish state.

“The fact that Goldstone changed his mind must lead to the shelving of the report once and for all,” Mr. Netanyahu said in a speech Saturday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who oversaw the operation in his post under Israel’s last government, said that Mr. Goldstone needed to share his new opinions more widely than in just an op-ed.

“We always said that the IDF is a moral army that acted according to international law,” Mr. Barak said. “Judge Goldstone needs to publish his present conclusions before all international bodies where he
published his distorted report.”

{The Washington Times, LLC/ Newscenter}