Cabinet likely to discuss probing Goldstone Gaza Report findings
Justice Ministry, Foreign Ministry back move; Netanyahu: We'll ensure report is vetoed at UN.
The security-diplomatic cabinet is likely to discuss on Tuesday whether Israel should establish a commission of inquiry into the findings of a damning United Nations report on the Gaza war.
The cabinet will consider the move at a special meeting on the document, in the wake of its endorsement by the UN Human Rights Council last week.
Both the Justice Ministry and Foreign Ministry support establishing such an inquiry, holding that it would aid Israel in combating the report.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak, for his part, does not rule out such a probe - but does not want it to harm the standing of Israel's existing investigative bodies and the Israel Defense Forces' own prosecutors.
At Tuesday's meeting, the Foreign Ministry is expected to present a plan for diplomatic action to combat the report, and the Justice Ministry will make suggestions on how to deal with its legal ramifications.
The report, which was authored by South African jurist Richard Goldstone, accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, but focuses mainly on alleged Israeli offences. Israel's western allies have pressured the country to launch credible investigations into the allegations of possible war crimes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged on Monday that Israel would ensure that the report would be vetoed at the United Nations General Assembly.
"It's going to the UN," the premier told lawmakers from his Likud party. "We'll make sure it gets vetoed."
Israeli ex-diplomat: We erred in boycotting Goldstone probe
Earlier Monday, Israel's former ambassador to Germany, Avi Primor, criticized his country's response to the Goldstone Report.
"The Israeli government was wrong to boycott the investigation led by South African war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone," Primor told German daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung, in an interview published Monday.
"We should submit our position, our arguments and not stay away," Primor said.
In the interview, the former diplomat said that while everybody in Israel rejected the report, nobody dared to ignore it.
"People speak out vehemently against it, but know it can't be disregarded," he told the paper.
Primor said that Goldstone also took the wrong approach in his report, presented to the UN Human Rights Council.
"[Goldstone] would more likely be accepted in Israel if he had tried to be more balanced," Primor said, adding that Hamas had unleashed the Gaza war by firing missiles at Israel for weeks on end.
"If Mr. Goldstone had described Hamas as war criminals and then criticized the way that Israel conducted this war, it would have been received differently by us," Primor added.
He said a Middle East peace deal was possible, but not realistic in coming years, since "Palestinians and Israelis are far too weak to dare to make concessions."
"The only way a peace deal could be implemented was if the international community became involved to a far greater extent than it had done to date," Primor said.