Barak 'incensed, but not surprised' by Goldstone report
In Wall Street Journal op-ed, defense minister rejects accusations Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.
Faulty methodology, politicization, and a failure to grasp the logic of self-defense led a United Nations-appointed judge to accuse Israel of war crimes during its three-week offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip earlier this year, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said.
In an op-ed piece which appeared in Friday editions of the Wall Street Journal, Barak assailed the controversial report compiled by a UN human rights commission led by South African war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone.
"Although I am incensed by the Goldstone Report, I must admit that I was not surprised," the defense minister wrote. "It is, more than anything else, a political statement - not a legal analysis."
Earlier this month, Goldstone's commission concluded that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups committed war crimes and acts that were likely crimes against humanity during the fighting in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
In a 547-page report, the mission said both Israeli and Palestinian authorities must engage in "good faith, independent roceedings" to investigate their own sides within six months, or the UN Security Council should refer the case to the International Criminal Court's prosecutor in The Hague.
Barak dismissed the findings as borne of a "zeal" and "obsession" to single out Israel for its actions in warding off persistent rocket attacks by Hamas that have plagued the western Negev.
"This shameful document was produced by the Human Rights Council, a body whose obsession with Israel has led it to produce more resolutions condemning Israel than all other countries combined," the defense minister wrote in The Wall Street Journal. "By its lights, the evils of Israel far outweigh those of countries like Burma, Sudan and North Korea."
"In its blind zeal to demonize Israel, the council has produced a document that undermines every other democracy struggling to defend itself against terrorism," Barak wrote. "The message broadcast by this report to the new world order? Terrorism pays."
The defense minister said Israeli intelligence reports indicate that the Palestinian witnesses who spoke to Goldstone were in fact Hamas operatives whose testimony was used as the basis for the report's findings.
"When the Goldstone mission gathers testimony from local residents in Hamas-ruled Gaza, but forgets to ask them whether they happened to notice any armed Palestinians during the Israeli operation, or didn't realize that its impartially chosen witnesses happened to be known Hamas operatives according to Israeli intelligence, I begin to question the methodology of such a 'fact-finding' effort," Barak wrote.