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Goldstone Won't Go Away: 'Israel Acting Cowardly'

UN investigator Richard Goldstone, who equated the “war crimes” of Israel and Hamas, now says that Israel’s self-investigation has been cowardly.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 9/29/2009, 2:30 PM

UN investigator Richard Goldstone, who authored a recent report essentially equating the “war crimes” of Israel and Hamas, now says that Israel’s self-investigation has been cowardly.

Goldstone spoke on Tuesday at the UN Human Rights Council - “a misnamed institution if there ever was one,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the UN General Assembly last week in an internationally-acclaimed speech.  Netanyahu decried the Human Rights Council's lack of response to the thousands of Hamas-fired rockets at Israel over the course of eight years.

Goldstone said the international community must end the "culture of impunity" in the Middle East. "The lack of accountability for war crimes and possible war crimes against humanity,” he said, “has reached a crisis point; the ongoing lack of justice is undermining any hope for a successful peace process and reinforcing an environment that fosters violence."

He said that Israel had been "pusillanimous" (cowardly) in investigating what he called in his report “war crimes” during its anti-terror offensive earlier this year, and that Hamas had been a "complete failure” in this regard.

Goldstone’s report detailed 36 selected incidents during the fighting, and then found that while the terrorists had perpetrated war crimes by firing rockets at Israel, Israel’s response must also be similarly categorized.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN institutions in Geneva, Aharon Leshno-Yaar, said that Goldstone’s choice of specific incidents was “shameful.” He noted that the Goldstone report ignored Israel’s right to self-defense, and provided tactical support to terrorists and their methods. While the PA representative in Geneva praised the report for its “objectivity,” Leshno-Yaar said that Israel investigates its own actions “not because of the report, but despite it.”