US envoy Rice doubts Goldstone report can be fixed

US ambassador to UN says she wants report to "disappear, no longer be a subject of discussion, debate in the UNHRC, or General Assembly."

By REUTERS
April 6, 2011 20:38
2 minute read.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice

US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice 311 . (photo credit: Reuters/ Jim Young)

 
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WASHINGTON - Susan Rice, the US envoy to the United Nations, said on Wednesday she wanted a controversial report on Israel's 2008-09 Gaza offensive to "disappear" but did not think it could be amended even though its author now says he may have been wrong.

"I'm not sure it can be amended," Rice told a congressional hearing. "What we want to see is for it to disappear and no longer be a subject of discussion and debate in the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly or beyond."

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Israel has urged the United Nations to cancel the 2009 report to the UN Human Rights Council by South African jurist Richard Goldstone that said both Israel and the terror group Hamas were guilty of war crimes in the Gaza conflict.

Rice told lawmakers the United States repudiated the Goldstone report as "deeply flawed" when it first emerged.

"We see no need ... for the Goldstone report to be considered and now that its principal author has said what he said, frankly, our view is reinforced that this should go away and that's what we'll work to do," she said.

Last week, Goldstone wrote in the Washington Post that Israeli investigations of the Gaza conflict indicated civilians had not been intentionally targeted. He said his report, published about nine months after the conflict, would have been different had he known this while writing it.

Rice said the United States did not see any evidence at the time that Israel intentionally targeted civilians or committed war crimes. Israel had shown an ability to investigate concerns about the conflict, "quite in contrast with Hamas," she said.

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Rice also defended US participation in the UN Human Rights Council, saying that it was better for the United States to stay engaged and resist anti-Israel bias on the council "rather than turn our backs."

Asked by lawmakers about a possible Palestinian move for UN recognition of an independent Palestinian state, Rice said "you can pass a resolution but that does not a viable state create."

"A viable state can only be established through direct negotiations between the parties," she said.

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