Israel hardens opposition to war crimes report

20 10 2009

JERUSALEM — Israel hardened its opposition Tuesday to international calls for an independent inquiry into its fierce offensive against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip last winter, saying it would urge the U.S. to prevent the issue from advancing at the United Nations.

The decision came at a special Cabinet meeting called to discuss a U.N. report that has accused Israel and Palestinian militants of committing war crimes during the three-week operation. The report, which was adopted by the U.N. Human Rights Council last week, recommends war crimes proceedings if the sides do not conduct credible independent investigations into their actions.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, a fierce critic of the report, blocked a planned discussion Tuesday on whether to launch an investigation, senior officials said. Instead, Cabinet ministers established a special lobbying team that will urge the U.S. to use its veto power in the Security Council to prevent legal action against Israeli officials.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supported Barak’s position, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the meeting was closed.

“Our struggle is to delegitimize the continuing attempt to delegitimize the state of Israel,” Netanyahu told the meeting, according to a statement from his office. “The most important sphere we need to work in is the sphere of public opinion in the democratic world.”

Both men have argued that the report was one-sided and undermines Israel’s right to defend itself. They also say that internal military investigations are sufficient. So far, the internal probes have cleared the army of any systemic wrongdoing.

But international pressure for an independent query has mounted since last week’s vote in the rights council.

Washington, which has reacted coolly to the report, is likely to veto attempts to prosecute Israelis. Still, the Israeli government is taking no chances. Tuesday’s decision by the Security Cabinet, a group of seven senior ministers, assigned legal, political and diplomatic officials to the lobbying effort, the officials said.

The U.N. report, overseen by respected South African jurist Richard Goldstone, has created an uproar in Israel. Officials say the Human Rights Council, which includes many Arab and Muslim countries, is hopelessly biased against Israel.

But Goldstone’s credentials as a former war crimes prosecutor in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, his Jewish faith and his close ties to Israel have made it hard for Israel to ignore his findings. Goldstone has personally urged Israel to hold an independent investigation.

Israel attacked Gaza last December in a bid to end eight years of relentless rocket fire by Palestinian militants. Some 1,400 Palestinians, including more than 900 civilians, were killed in the three-week war, according to Palestinian officials and human rights groups. Thirteen Israelis, including four civilians, also died.

The Goldstone report concluded that Israel deliberately struck civilians and repeatedly destroyed civilian infrastructure without military justification. It also accused Palestinian rocket squads affiliated with Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, and other Palestinian armed groups of deliberately going after Israeli civilians.

Each side has rejected the war crimes allegations against it.

(News Source: Ap.com/PCJN)

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5 responses

20 10 2009
John

Is Peres Crazy or what?? he him self addmited that the Gaza offensive killed 1.160 people, being 60% suspected terrorists..WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 40%??? is it ok to kill 400+ inocents? You must remenber that Israel is a Nation not a militant group, a Nation cannot kill civilians, thats what Nazi Germany did, it killed innocent Civilians, and thats what israel is doing, its killing innocent people, many thounsands of innocent children and women,many innocent men it could be close to hundreds of thounsands, the palestinians can barely kill 10 israely persons with their rockets israel kills thousand in one swoop, not caring about colleteral damages i.e Innocent Civilian. Shame on Israel, the UN should sanction Israel, but we all know that will never happen since it has the backing of the USA.

20 10 2009
Hurtfull

Please dont stick up for terrorists thanx

20 10 2009
chere

John said: “a Nation cannot kill civilians, thats what Nazi Germany did, it killed innocent Civilians, and thats what israel is doing, ”

I guess the term children live what they learn…young adults too sometimes.
is true afterall
I pray our Nations finest Soldiers be protected against any of the enemy’s ideology. Amen!

21 10 2009
John

And who are the terrorists? Israel or Palestinians? who;s kept in “concentration camps” – Could someone tell me what is the logic of killing thousands because terrorists kidnaped two (2) israely soldiers? is it to show them that they shouldnt mess with jews? well that sure is stupid, because by killing innocent civilians you transform otherwise peaceful persons into fighter for a cause they now see as justified because their parent or friend or son was killed in a israely raid, or their home was bombed and crushed by bulldozers. i dont “stick up” for terrorist, by i can empathize with points of view, something that ignorant people can’t. Im sure that if you were treated the same way (being pushed out of your home, put in “refugge camps” controlled by a foreign power.) you too would resort to “terrorism”

21 10 2009
John

and Chere, wht you said is true, children do live what they learn, and what the palestinian children are learning is Hate.
All im saying is that you catch more fly with honey than with vinegar (i know you catch even more with Sh!t) Israel should extend a hand to the palestinians, help them reaise a estate that can give decent health, education and security, because the “terrorist” groups only flourish due to the lack of any state presence. I gave up on organized religion long ago due to the ignorance that religious people show in front of basic human troubles, it shouldnt be important if you follow the jewish god, muslim god or cristhian god. what matters is that we are all humans and we all deserve the same treatment.

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