President Shimon Peres called the Goldstone Commission's report "a great victory for terror," saying a "built-in majority against Israel" in the United Nations meant the Jewish state would automatically have "no chance to win support" on any single issue.
In an interview with Newsweek published on Saturday, Peres said, "Never before did any terrorist organization gain such recognition, in the most unfair way," referring to the UN-commissioned report on Operation Cast Lead, which accuses both Hamas and Israel of committing war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity.
The report was endorsed earlier in October by a majority in the UN Human Rights Council. Among the countries who voted in favor of endorsement were Bahrain, China, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, and Saudi Arabia.
"We have a problem in the United Nations: There is a built-in majority against Israel. Israel doesn't stand a chance to win any single issue because the Muslim and the Arab nations and the ones who follow them are a majority," Peres said.
"The terms of reference were one-sided: to investigate the war crimes of Israel. And the conclusions - they're one sided. There are 26 recommendations. Not one deals with terror. The terrorists are flying free and high. It's unbelievable. Israel does not occupy Gaza. We left Gaza completely. We are the only country that forced our own settlers and army without any foreign pressure to leave Gaza. And for eight years we restrained [military retaliations to rockets fired by Hamas]. No reference to it," said the president.
Peres stressed that the Goldstone Commission's conclusions did not reflect the 12,000 rockets fired at southern Israel by Hamas, adding that "when you read the report, you think Israel woke up in a poor mood and went to attack Gaza."
Later in the interview, the president expressed hope that a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians would be signed during Mahmoud Abbas's presidency over the Palestinian Authority. "It won't be peace out of love; it will be peace out of necessity," he said.
When asked about Teheran's nuclear aspirations, Peres expressed worry over the Geneva talks, which reflected what he termed a policy of inspection rather than prevention of "the building of a bomb."
The president stressed that inspection of uranium enrichment would be "very, very difficult, particularly when the Iranians are extremely economical about telling the truth," reiterating his impression that talks with the West, Iran was trying "to maneuver rather than agree."
Also in the interview published over the weekend, Peres said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could no longer be called "right-wing."
Peres said that he could not understand why Netanyahu and his government were viewed "as rightists [and] extremists" when Netanyahu, the first Israeli prime minister to agree to a settlement construction freeze, had already announced his readiness "to have a two-state solution."
Peres told Newsweek he may have had "a certain influence" upon the decisions that Netanyahu has made since taking office earlier this year, adding that he didn't expect the prime minister to take everything he said into account.
"My advice is simple," said the president. "We have to make peace. We shouldn't postpone it."