Lieberman to Ban: Don't let Goldstone report gain ground in UN
In telephone call, Foreign Minister reiterates stance that votes on Gaza probe could harm peace talks.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has asked United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to keep the Goldstone Commission report on Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip from advancing to further votes within the international body.
The damning report, which accuses both Israel and Hamas of war crimes, was endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council last week despite opposition from Israel and its allies.
In a telephone conversation late Thursday, Lieberman reiterated his stance that bringing the report for vote in the Security Council or at a General Assembly would harm Middle East peace talks.
The Palestinians should not be allowed to hold negotiations with Israel on a local level while fighting against it in the international sphere, he said, according to a Hebrew statement from his office Friday.
Mentioning by name Cuba, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, he also charged that the automatic condemnations of Israel by states with poor human rights records made "the international system into one characterized by hypocrisy and one which acts according to prejudices."
"A distorted international reality has been created in which at any international forum there is an automatic majority of states which are very far from being concerned about issues of human rights," he said.
"One must think about how to correct this situation in order for there to be a credible and balanced international system," added Lieberman.
South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who authored the damning report, earlier this week accused Lieberman of using the probe to cover his own desire to see the Israeli-Palestinian peace process stall.
Goldstone made the claim in a conference call on Sunday with 150 U.S. rabbis from left-leaning organizations.
"That just is a shallow, I believe, false allegation," he said. "What peace process are they talking about? There isn't one. The Israeli foreign minister doesn't want one at all."
Lieberman, a right-winger, has drawn fire for criticizing Israel's past efforts in seeking a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Goldstone's report accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes during the 3-week campaign, but mainly focused on alleged Israeli offenses. It set off an uproar in Israel, and Israeli officials have largely dismissed it as biased.