lieberman - Emil Salman - December 14 2010
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo by Emil Salman
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Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed Saturday the regrets voiced by former jurist Richard Goldstone regarding his damning United Nations probe into Operation Cast Lead that found Israel guilty of war crimes, saying he always knew the truth would come out.

In a Washington Post op-ed, Goldstone said that had Israel cooperated with the fact-finding mission, and had he knew the facts which emerged since the 2008-09 Gaza war, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

"I want to congratulate Goldstone's new conclusions, but I am not surprised by them," Lieberman told Channel 2 news. "We knew the truth, and we had no doubt that it would eventually come out."

"After the Goldstone Report we exerted great efforts in hasbara [pro-Israel advocacy]. Two committees that were set up afterward came to the same conclusions and I was glad to hear that Jurist Goldstone also came to that conclusion," said Lieberman.

Lieberman, who called the UN Human Rights Council the "most anti-Israel body in the world", said that Israel was right when it did not cooperate with Goldstone's committee because cooperation would have set a precedent that anybody can come and probe the actions of the IDF at any time.

In the Washington Post column titled "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes," Goldstone wrote: "We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report," adding, "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."

The former South African jurist said that while "Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, 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."

While Israel has shown to probe itself "to a significant degree" over Gaza war actions, Goldstone wrote, Hamas, who has been in control of the coastal enclave since 2007, "has done nothing."

The former jurist also criticizes the UN Human Rights Council's anti-Israel bias, saying that he had hoped that the report could "begin a new era of evenhandedness at the UN Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted."