US State Departement Spokesman Mark Toner 311.
(photo credit: US State Department)
Addressing Judge Richard Goldstone’s recent Washington Post editorial, US State
Department Spokesman Mark Toner said the US long held that Israel did not engage
in war crimes during Operation Cast Lead, in a press briefing
Goldstone wrote last week that Israel did not have a policy of
targeting civilians, and accused the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) of
conducting itself with a bias against Israel.
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“We’ve made clear from when
the Goldstone Report was initially presented – and maintained ever since – that
we didn’t see any evidence that the Israeli government had intentionally
targeted civilians, or otherwise engaged in any war crimes,” he
Toner added that the US concurs with Goldstone’s assertion that
Jerusalem has “undertaken credible internal processes to assess its own conduct
Toner also discussed the UNHRC, which Goldstone
criticized for having a clear anti-Israel bias.
The US remains concerned
by “and will continue working to end... what we believe is anti-Israeli bias in
the Human Rights Council,” he said.
Also on Monday, US Congressman Eliot
Engel (Dem.- NY) called on the UN to retract the Goldstone Report, and said he
will personally make a request later this week to UN Secretary- General Ban
Ki-moon and US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice to do so.
Goldstone’s Washington Post
op-ed, Engel said, “Now that Mr. Goldstone
has seen the error of his ways, it is time for the United Nations to retract the
report. The report was biased against Israel from the very start, and I am glad
to see Mr. Goldstone retract his earlier false findings.
this will stop the international community from rushing to judgment against
Israel in the future – but I doubt it,” he added.
Expanding on attitudes
toward Israel in the UN, the congressman said the report was “just one of many
instances” where bias is shown against the Jewish State.
“It has gotten
to the point where Israel no longer trusts the UN, and that is a very
unfortunate development,” he said.