Goldstone: US should justify its claims

Goldstone US should jus

October 22, 2009 11:20
2 minute read.

Jurist Richard Goldstone on Thursday challenged the US to justify its claims that the findings in a UN report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza were flawed and biased. "I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are. I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are," Goldstone said in an interview with Al Jazeera. "The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza (by Hamas), but said that the report was flawed," said Goldstone. Goldstone went on to say he believed most critics had not even read the report. "I've no doubt, many of the critics - the overwhelming majority of critics - have not read the report," he said. "And, you know, what proves that, I think, is that the level of criticism does not go to the substance of the report." The jurist stressed that his commission did not question Israel's right to self-defense in carrying out a military operation, but rather focused on investigating the way in which the IDF used force. When asked about Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's initiative to change the international law concerning states fighting terrorist groups, Goldstone said Israel was apparently "clutching at straws." "I think it's sad... Israel is clutching at straws. International law can't be changed just because one side doesn't like the laws of war," Goldstone said. "I think it's wrong, very unfortunate and inappropriate," Goldstone said of the Israeli response to the report compiled by the UN fact-finding commission he led. When asked whether an Israeli probe into the IDF's conduct during the Gaza operation could be trusted, Goldstone expressed his confidence in the Israeli legal system and experts. "I've got no doubt at all that if the Israeli government was prepared to set up an independent commission to investigate and to recommend prosecutions, I'm sure it could do that and I would have confidence in such an investigation," he said. Goldstone warned that if an internal investigation were not conducted, Israel could face prosecution at international tribunals. "If they don't have a good faith internal investigation this thing is not going to lie down and die," he said.

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