Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on April 3 called on the UN to retract the Goldstone Report following statements made by Richard Goldstone in a Washington Post op-ed. Netanyahu said the Goldstone Report, which found that Israel committed war crimes in Operation Cast Lead after a fact finding mission, is called into question by Goldstone’s April 1 article, where he wrote: “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” According to Goldstone, new evidence has shown that Israel never targeted civilians in the conflict as originally alleged.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
Goldstone went on to commend Israel and the Palestinian Authority for conducting investigations into the report’s allegations, noting that Hamas had not done so. He also noted the positive effect the report had in the conflict, leading to reforms in the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces. Citing these statements, Netanyahu called for the report to be nullified.
The report said that Israel regularly and impermissibly disregarded the welfare of civilians and even targeted them during the conflict in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention. The report also found that Israel failed to look into alleged misconduct by its soldiers and used white phosphorous in violation of international law. The report accused Palestinian fighters of firing mortars indiscriminately into civilian areas and mistreating prisoner of war Gilad Shalit in violation of the Third Geneva Convention. Israel dismissed the report as prejudiced and one-sided, citing the large number of countries that did not support the fact finding mission.
From Jurist, April 3. Used with permission.
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