Netanyahu to UN: Retract Gaza war report in wake of Goldstone's comments
Following Richard Goldstone's op-ed in which he expressed regret regarding his report on alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza war, PM says 'everything we said proved to be true' and urges the UN to scrap the report.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the United Nations on Saturday to retract the Goldstone Report following the regret expressed by former jurist Richard Goldstone regarding the damning report on alleged Israeli war crimes during the Gaza war.
"Everything that we said proved to be true," said Netanyahu. "Israel did not intentionally target civilians and it has proper investigatory bodies. In contrast, Hamas intentionally directed strikes toward innocent civilians and did not conduct any kind of probe."
In a Washington Post op-ed, Goldstone said that had Israel cooperated with the fact-finding mission, and had he known the facts which emerged since the 2008-09 Gaza war, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."
Netanyahu said that in the wake of Goldstone's comments, the United Nations must cancel his damning report.
"The fact that Goldstone changed his mind must lead to the shelving of the report once and for all," Netanyahu demanded.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak also responded to Goldstone's op-ed on Saturday. He too demanded that Goldstone present his new conclusions to official bodies.
"We always said that the IDF is a moral army that acted according to international law. Judge Goldstone needs to publish his present conclusions before all international bodies where he published his distorted report," said Barak.
Earlier Saturday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman welcomed Goldstone's regrets regarding the report, and said that he had no doubt "the truth would eventually come out" regarding Israel's actions in the Gaza war.
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."