'Call to retract Goldstone Report on Gaza is not justified'

Goldstone mission members reject calls for retraction of Cast Lead report after judge says report misrepresented Israel.

April 14, 2011 12:20
2 minute read.
Judge Richard Goldstone

Judge Richard Goldstone 311 (R). (photo credit: Reuters)


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Three members of the UN fact-finding mission that compiled the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead released a statement on Thursday rejecting calls to retract the report, The Guardian reported.

In response to an article written by Judge Richard Goldstone, in which the judge refuted allegations that Israel had a policy of targeting civilians, Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani, professor of international law at the London School of Economics Christine Chinvin and former Irish peacekeeper Desmond Travers wrote that they "find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated."

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"Aspersions cast on the findings of the report...cannot be left unchallenged," the three wrote. "We concur in our view that there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in anyway change the context, findings or conclusions of that report with respect to any of the parties to the Gaza conflict."

Jilani, Chinvin and Travers do not mention Goldstone by name, but say that "calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts at misrepresenting its nature and purpose, disregard the rights of victims, Palestinians and Israeli, to truth and justice." Those who have made such calls, they say, "misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimize the findings and cast doubts on its credibility."

"Had we given in to pressures from any quarter to sanitize our conclusions," they wrote, "we would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict."

In April, Goldstone wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post that civilians "were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy" by Israel, and said that had Israel cooperated with his fact-finding mission into Operation Cast lead, "the Goldstone Report would have been a different document." He added that the mandate given to him by the UN Human Rights Council was "skewed against Israel."

"I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within," he wrote.

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