Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Israel Blasts 'Shameful' Gaza War Report; U.N. Defends

"A U.N. investigator defended a report Tuesday that accuses Israel and Palestinian militants of war crimes during their conflict in Gaza, an allegation Israel condemns and claims is the result of bias against the Jewish state.

Former South African Judge Richard Goldstone said he and his fellow investigators rejected criticism by Israel that the 575-page report was politically motivated.

"We believe deeply in the rule of law, humanitarian law, human rights and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm," he told the U.N. Human Rights Council before a debate on the report.

Goldstone said his team was motivated by a desire to hold accountable those on both sides who harmed civilians in violation of international law.

Israeli Ambassador Aharon Leshno-Yaar described the report as "shameful," claiming it cherry-picked incidents during the Dec. 27-Jan. 18 conflict for political effect, ignored Israel's right to self-defense, and provided "support and vindication for terrorist tactics.""

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