Kadima MK calls for Cast Lead probe

MK Shai calls for Cast L

MK Nachman Shai called on the government Sunday to establish a judicial investigative committee into Operation Cast Lead in response to Friday's UN Human Right Council endorsement of the Goldstone Commission Report, which accuses Israel of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during last winter's operation in Gaza. "The stronger the diplomatic offensive against Israel becomes," the more necessary it is for "the government of Israel to make a brave decision," the Kadima legislator said in a press release. "The time has come to put an end to the government's misgivings concerning the Goldstone report and to conduct a judicial inquiry into Operation Cast Lead," he said, referring to the findings of the UN commission led by Judge Richard Goldstone. "As time goes on, it is becoming clearer that this is the only way to save Israel from the dead end into which the government has forced us, and that disrupts Israel's foreign affairs." Shai said that such an investigation would "bring all those who violated IDF protocol to justice," saying that those leading it "will thwart the public maneuver against us and return Israel to its previous [glory]." Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz accused the international community of anti-Semitism for endorsing the report. "It is an anti-Semitic attempt to rule that what is permissible for the US in Afghanistan, Russia in Chechnya and Turkey in northern Iraq is forbidden for the State of Israel that is defending itself in the Gaza Strip," he told Army Radio. "We won't lend a hand to the accusations, Jews will not be led once again like lambs to the slaughter. The land of the Jews has a right and a duty to protect its citizens no less than the US, Russia or Turkey." Turning to the Palestinian leadership, Steinitz said that if the Palestinian Authority continues to plot against Israel at every international forum, "we'll have to consider whether we want to continue contributing to the PA's development. We won't be able to carry on turning the other cheek." The Palestinians worked hard to rapidly push the resolution through the Human Rights Council, and on Saturday night, PLO Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi told The Jerusalem Post that the Palestinians were now looking for ways to send the report directly to the ICC. Meanwhile, Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat chose to criticize opposition leader Tzipi Livni. "I certainly expect that just like [Prime Minister] Binyamin Netanyahu joined the public diplomacy effort around the world during Operation Cast Lead, Livni will also phone world leaders and stand up for the State of Israel. There is no coalition and opposition here," she said. "Unfortunately though, she hasn't done this." Government Services Minister Michael Eitan (Likud)leveled veiled criticism at the prime minister, saying public diplomacy starts with deeds. "It's impossible to explain when you do nothing. The right actions must be performed in order to achieve diplomatic goals," he said. "But on the other hand, we must remember that public relations, good as they may be, come only after we can ensure the security of Israeli citizens and the country's existence." Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report