Head of UN Cast Lead probe vows to try and ensure report will be balanced

The head of the UN fact-finding mission on Operation Cast Lead insists that he will do everything he can to ensure that the report will be balanced and fair. In an interview with Channel 1 aired on Saturday, former South African judge and human rights expert Richard Goldstone said he had first refused the UN's offer to head the mission, but eventually agreed after the UN Human Rights Council president promised that the probe would be balanced. He went on to say that the final report would relate to the capture of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit and his captors' refusal to reveal any information about his condition. In answer to the question of why there was no UN probe into years of rocket attack on southern Israel, Goldstone said that the issue had been raised by non-governmental organizations, but that Israel itself had never asked the Security Council for such an investigation. He said he had tried to convince Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to allow official Israeli cooperation with the UN mission, but that his requests had fallen on deaf ears. The final UN report will be published at the end of September.