Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had some harsh words for the world during the government meeting on Thursday, saying that if the international community endorses the Goldstone Report on Israel's Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last winter, the peace process with the Palestinians, as well as the global war on terror, would be dealt a fatal blow.
"In the next 24 hours a vote will be cast in Geneva within the UN Human Rights Council," Netanyahu told the ministers.
"I remind you that this very council has adopted more resolutions targeting Israel than resolutions targeting all other 180 countries in the world put together," he said.
"If the council decides to endorse the Goldstone report it will deal a fatal blow to three major issues: Firstly, it will harm the war on terror, because it will legitimize terrorists who hide behind civilians and fire from their midst." Netanyahu stressed that in such cases, the one who ultimately takes the blame is "generally the victim, acting in legitimate self defense."
"The second devastating blow will be to the UN's status and its prestige. It will take it back to its darkest days when absurd decisions were passed within its assembly and empty it of all meaning," Netanyahu added, referring to the 1970s, when the UN adopted a resolution comparing Zionism with racism. He warned that the UN will become irrelevant if it adopts the conclusions of the report.
The Prime Minister stated that the third and most pressing issue was the Goldstone Report's potentially "devastating effect on the peace process," and warned the world that "Israel will not be willing to take risks for peace if stripped of its right to self-defense."
During the meeting, held on Thursday and not on Sunday due to Yom Kippur, Defense Minister Ehud Barak updated the government on his meetings with US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and US point-man on the Iran dossier Dennis Ross, as well as other officials in the US intelligence community.
Barak's discussion with US officials revolved around the importance of maintaining Israel's qualitative edge over its enemies in the region, and included Iran's nuclear program, which Israel believes is meant for the production of nuclear weapons.
"I certainly detect in the US administration a better understanding of Israel's position on the matter," Barak said.
Barak also addressed the Godlstone Report, saying, "We should act with confidence and not try to apologize [to the world]. There is a dangerous attempt here to compare terror groups with those trying to defend themselves; it is a prize for terrorism. This attitude harms the world's ability to fight terrorism, and will eventually harm the United States, Russia and member states of NATO."
Barak said he also met with Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor, stalwart defender of Israel and JPost.com blogger. Barak told the ministers regarding his meeting with Dershowitz that "there is readiness by many to act against the Goldstone Report. We will need serious thinking and acting, and the basis of our actions should be real self confidence."
"The IDF conducted many serious internal investigations. I told leaders from the United States and Europe that the norms of the IDF are among the world's most ethical and I say with confidence that the IDF is one of the most punctilious armies when it comes to the purity of arms and serious, in-depth investigations of untoward conduct," Barak said.