By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
Coalition and opposition MKs united over the weekend in their condemnation of UN Human Rights Commission, which voted Friday to endorse the controversial findings of the Goldstone Report on last winter's Operation Cast Lead.
This time, it was not only the report, but the institution itself that took fire from almost all sides of the Israeli political spectrum.
"The UNHCR, from the day that it was established, looks at Israel through a twisted and disfiguring manner - just like the report itself," complained Kadima head and opposition leader Tzipi Livni.
Livni, who has lately tried to position herself as the more moderate, internationally friendly alternative to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, nevertheless wasted no words condemning the UNHRC vote as "a clearly cynical political vote. Thus, without any connection to the commission, Israel will continue to do the right thing, to defend her civilians against terror, to take necessary military actions, to continue the international struggle against the report and will insure the legal defense of IDF officers."
Livni's cohort and former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief MK Avi Dichter (Kadima) said that the shockwaves of the report in the international arena were counterproductive to peace.
"The report was born of an error, and the UNHRC's decision elevated it to the level of a sin," he said. "Now Israel must fight to prevent a situation in which the hearings in the United Nations and the UNHRC do not elevate it to a crime.
"Israel will be forced to pay the price even though Israel engaged in one of the most justified military operations to defend her civilians against evil terror." he continued.
"The Palestinian celebrations over the report are premature, because the higher the report goes within the UN, the lower the chances to progress to peace with the Palestinians. We will have trouble advancing the peace process opposite Palestinians drunk with victory."
Coalition politicians also rushed to protest the vote. Interior Minister Eli Yishai decried "an anti-Israeli resolution which joins an anti-Israeli report."
"The council's resolution constitutes diplomatic anarchy," he said, adding that the IDF treated innocent civilians with "kid gloves," during Operation Cast Lead, even as the report alleges the Israel committed war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.
Science Minister Daniel Herschkowitz said it was "a shame that the UN has made itself irrelevant."
But members of the Arab parties differed from the near-consensus within the Knesset. MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List) praised the UNHRC for endorsing the Goldstone report, and said that the international community had "regained its lost honor."
"The report's endorsement is an important legal and moral statement. We mustn't leave the civilian population defenseless," Tibi said.
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