[JURIST] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [official website] on Sunday called [statement] on the UN to retract the Goldstone Report [text, PDF; JURIST news archive] following statements made by Richard Goldstone in a Washington Post op-ed [text]. The Goldstone Report, which found that Israel committed war crimes [JURIST report] in Operation Cast Lead [JURIST news archive] after a fact finding mission, was called into question Friday by Goldstone’s article, where he said: “if I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” According to Goldstone, new evidence has shown that Israel never targeted civilians in the conflict as originally alleged.
The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
Goldstone went on to commend Israel and the Palestinian Authority for conducting investigations into the report’s allegations, noting that Hamas had not done so. He also noted the positive effect the report had in the conflict, leading to reforms in the conduct of the Israel Defense Forces. Citing these statements, Netanyahu called for the report to be nullified [Al Jazeera report].
The report said that Israel regularly and impermissibly disregarded the welfare of civilians and even targeted them during the conflict in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention [texts]. The report also found that Israel failed to look into alleged misconduct by its soldiers and used white phosphorous [GlobalSecurity backgrounder] in violation of international law. The report accused Palestinian fighters of firing mortars indiscriminately into civilian areas and mistreating prisoner of war Gilad Shalit [JURIST news archive] in violation of the Third Geneva Convention [text]. Israel dismissed the report [MFA press release] as prejudiced and one-sided, citing the large number of countries that did not support the fact finding mission.