Israel Challenges Findings of U.N. Report on Gaza War

By Haaretz Service

Published September 15, 2009.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israel has opened an international campaign to protest a United Nations report, which ruled it committed war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity during its offensive on the Gaza Strip earlier this year.

The report, compiled by a commission headed by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accuses both Israel and the Palestinians of actions amounting to war crimes during the December 27-January 18 battle in the Hamas-ruled territory.

The Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that Israel was “appalled and disappointed” by the damning report. “The UN body has dealt a huge blow to governments seeking to defend their citizens from terror,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

In particular, said Palmor, the commission’s equation of Hamas to Israel in its 600 page report was “appalling and disappointing.”

The Israeli campaign is aimed at preventing a discussion on the report in the United Nations Security Council.

Palmor said the report’s conclusions were “so disconnected with realities on ground that one cannot but wonder on which planet was the Gaza Strip they visited.”

President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are expected to appeal to foreign leaders starting on Wednesday for support on the matter.

“This is going to be a long legal and diplomatic operation,” said a senior Israel official familiar with the report. “We’ll get our friends across the world active, especially the United States, to prevent the isolation of Israel.”

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations, Gabriela Shalev, on Tuesday called the commission’s findings even “harsher” than Israel could have imagined.

“We did not want to cooperate with the commission from the beginning, because its mandate has always been one-sided,” said Shalev. “The Human Rights Council is known as a body constantly critical of Israel.

“We knew the report would be biased and one-sided, but did not anticipate that it would be so harsh,” she added.

Shalev, a professor of law, said that Israel was committed to international law. She added that the Israel Defense Forces has already investigated more than 100 complaints of misconduct during Operation Cast Lead.

The Foreign Ministry reiterated Shalev’s stance, saying: “Israel knew it could not cooperate with the commission, due to the one-sided mandate, which ignores the thousands of rockets Hamas fired at civilians in southern Israel — that which made the offensive on Gaza necessary.

“Israel is completely committed to acting in accordance with international law and investigate every claim of misconduct perpetrated by its forces,” add the Foreign Ministry.

Following the report, nine Israeli human rights groups called on the government to conduct its own probe of the war.

“Human rights organizations in Israel believe that the State of Israel must conduct an independent and impartial investigation into these suspicions and to cooperate with an international monitoring mechanism that would guarantee both the independence of that investigation and the implementation of its conclusions,” said the groups in a statement.

“The groups expect the Government of Israel to respond to the substance of the report?s findings and to desist from its current policy of casting doubt upon the credibility of anyone who does not adhere to the establishment’s narrative.”

The signatories included the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah, Bimkom, B’Tselem, Gisha, HaMoked, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel and Yesh Din.






Find us on Facebook!
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • What's a "telegenically dead" Palestinian?
  • 13 Israeli soldiers die in Gaza — the deadliest day for the IDF in decades. So much for 'precision' strikes and easy exit strategies.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.