Israel has demanded that the United Nations cancel a report that suggested the Jewish state may have committed war crimes during its military offensive in Gaza during 2008-2009.
Israel's 22-day offensive in Gaza left 1,400 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, and 13 Israelis dead. The operation was unleashed by Israel in retaliation for repeated rocket attacks on Israeli territory by Gaza militants.
The Goldstone Report, which was originally published in September 2009, determined that the Israeli military and Hamas militants who control Gaza, both committed potential war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the battle.
Goldstone’s panel charged that Israel used excessive force, deliberately targeted civilians, destroyed civilian infrastructure, and used innocent people as human shields.
The report also accused Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and spreading terror by launching rockets at Israel.
However, South African judge Richard Goldstone, the author of the report, recently conceded that based on new accounts, he concluded that Israel had not intentionally targeted civilians. He added that if he had been aware of this information, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
Goldstone wrote in the Washington Post that his conclusions about Israel may have been wrong.
He concluded that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.
We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war, he said. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Goldstone’s comment meant the report should be buried.
“Everything we said has been proven to be true. Israel does not purposely target civilians and its investigative institutions are competent,” he stated
in a statement. “Hamas intentionally fires at innocent civilians and does not investigate anything. The fact that Goldstone has backtracked means the report should be buried once and for all.
Goldstone also added that Hamas had done nothing to examine its rocket attacks, which were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.