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April 07, 2011 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2011-04-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Gaza Retraction

Goldstone says evidence shows Israel had no policy of targeting civilians in Gaza War.

Ron Kampeas and Marcy Oster
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Washington

p

rime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu said Israel would
launch an international campaign
to cancel the Goldstone Report after its
author, ex-South African Judge Richard
Goldstone, wrote in an opinion article that
Israel did not intentionally target civilians
as a policy during the Gaza War, with-
drawing a critical allegation in the report.
Goldstone's article appeared in the
Washington Post last Saturtday.
Netanyahu said he asked his security
adviser, Ya'akov Amidror, to establish a
committee focused on "minimizing the
damage caused" by the report.
"There are very few instances in which
those who disseminate libels retract their
libel. This happened in the case of the
Goldstone Report',' Netanyahu said Sunday
at the start of the weekly Cabinet meet-
ing."Goldstone himself said that all of the
things that we have been saying all along
are correct — that Israel never intention-
ally fired at civilians and that our inquiries
operated according to the highest interna-
tional standards.
"Of course, this is in complete contrast
to Hamas, which intentionally attacked
and murdered civilians and, naturally,
never carried out any sort of inquiry. This
leads us to call for the immediate cancella-
tion of the Goldstone Report."
Goldstone's Washington Post article said,
"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 U.N. Human
Rights Council that produced what has
come to be known as the Goldstone
Report. If I had known then what I know
now, the Goldstone Report would have
been a different document."
Goldstone withdrew what perhaps was
his most damaging conclusion: That there
was evidence suggesting Israel had delib-
erately targeted civilians during its war
with Hamas.
Referring to a U.N. committee's recent
independent assessment of his report,
Goldstone wrote, "While the investiga-
tions published by the Israeli military and
recognized in the U.N. committee's report
have established the validity of some inci-

38

The Goldstone Report accused Israel of intentionally targeting civilians.

dents that we investigated in cases involv-
ing individual soldiers, they also indicate
that civilians were not intentionally tar-
geted as a matter of policy."
Goldstone said he may have drawn dif-
ferent conclusions had Israel cooperated
with his inquiry; Israel refused to do so,
seeing the U.N. Human Rights Council as
irredeemably biased.
He also said that it "goes without say-
ing" that Hamas intentionally targeted
civilians and noted that, unlike Israel,
Hamas did not investigate its own actions.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said
Saturday that Goldstone's "retreat does not
change the fact war crimes had been com-
mitted against 1.5 million people in Gaza!'
Abu Zuhri said Hamas cooperated with
the Goldstone commission.
Senior Fatah Central Committee
member Nabil Shaath said Sunday that
Goldstone retracted his committee's report
due to pressure.
Netanyahu on Saturday night called on
the United Nations to "cancel" the report
in light of Goldstone's article, although

he did not make clear what this would
involve.
The American Jewish Committee said
Goldstone should ask the United Nations
to "revise and update" the report.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), a member of
the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign
Affairs Committee, called on the U.N.
Human Rights Council to "retract" the
report it had adopted.
Abraham Foxman, national director
of the Anti-Defamation League, said in a
statement, "What is so distressing is the
fact that Goldstone rushed to judgment
in the first instance as to Israel's alleged
intention to target civilians without any
convincing evidence." He added that
Goldstone's "specious conclusion caused
Israel untold damage in the international
community and played a key role in fos-
tering the campaigns of delegitimization
of Israel."
Foxman called Goldstone's renunciation
of his own report "a story of the continu-
ing bias of the United Nations against
Israel, a story of the unwillingness of the

international community to take seriously
the extremism and violence of Hamas,
and a story of how a renowned jurist and
member of the Jewish community allowed
himself to be used by enemies of the
Jewish state
Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO
Monitor, said Goldstone "was misled by
an orchestrated campaign led by powerful
NGOs" and that the so-called 'evidence'
provided by these groups was at the
core of the political war against Israel.
Goldstone was taken in by crude manipu-
lation."
World Jewish Congress Chair Evelyn
Sommer called on the United Nations to
recognize Goldstone's retraction and "to
revise the report issued by the U.N. that
did immeasurable harm and damage to
the State of Israel!'
"It is high time that the United Nations,
which gives much lip service to the concept
of reform of the world body, re-evaluate its
methods of reporting and documentation
of investigations such as that of Israel's
Operation in Gaza of 2009',' she said. I_

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