Israel demands to cancel UN Gaza report
Israel demands to cancel a U.N. report on the 2008-9 Gaza war. This came after the head of the panel that investigated Israel's war on Gaza has retracted the central assertion of his report -- that Israel intentionally killed Palestinian civilians in the coastal territory.
Richard Goldstone, a South African jurist, wrote in an opinion article in The Washington Post that Israeli investigations into the conflict "indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy." "If I had known then what I know now," he wrote, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."
His article, which was posted on The Post's Web site on Friday night, follows a report submitted two weeks ago by a committee of independent experts led by Mary McGowan Davis, a former New York judge, that said that Hamas had not conducted any internal investigations of its own but that Israel had devoted considerable resources in looking into more than 400 accusations of misconduct.
On his part, Israel's Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that the regret expressed by Goldstone was "too limited, and comes too late," reported Army Radio on Sunday. Barak said the damage caused by the Goldstone report could not be undone.
"The state of Israel announced that the report was fundamentally distorted. The Goldstone commission was based, from the beginning, on blood libels. It did not pretend to determine whether there were in fact war crimes, but in advance meant to determine which war crimes that Israel allegedly led," he said.