US Envoy Wants UN to Jettison Goldstone Report
US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Wednesday she wanted a controversial report on Israel's 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead in Gaza to "disappear," Reuters reports.
"I'm not sure it can be amended," Rice said during a Congressional hearing. "What we want to see is for it to disappear and no longer be a subject of discussion and debate in the Human Rights Council or the General Assembly or beyond."
"We see no need," Rice said, "for the Goldstone report to be considered and now that its principal author has said what he said, frankly, our view is reinforced that this should go away and that's what we'll work to do."
Rice reiterated the United States repudiated the Goldstone report as "deeply flawed" when it was first released. Rice said the United States did not see any evidence Israel intentionally targeted civilians or committed war crimes at the time. She added Israel had shown an ability to investigate concerns about the conflict itself, "quite in contrast with Hamas."
Rice also defended US participation in the UN Human Rights Council before the lawmakers, saying it was better for the United States to stay engaged and resist anti-Israel bias on the council, "rather than turn our backs."
Her comments follow an opinion piece in the Washington Post written by retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone last Friday in which he said, "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."
In the piece Goldstone recanted the accusation Israel had deliberately targeted civillians, "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."
Israel has called on the United Nations to cancel the 2009 report to the UN Human Rights Council by South African jurist Richard Goldstone which accused both Israel and the terror group Hamas of war crimes in Gaza.
Asked by lawmakers about a possible unilateral Palestinian Authority move for UN recognition of an independent PA state, Rice said, "you can pass a resolution but that does not a viable state create."
"A viable state can only be established through direct negotiations between the parties," she emphasized.