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Middle East
Goldstone dares US on Gaza report
Gaza war crimes report author says US must justify claims his findings are flawed.
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2009 20:16 GMT
The war left about 1,400 Palestinians dead and prompted a UN-led investigation [File: EPA]

Richard Goldstone, the jurist who authored a UN report accusing Israel of war crimes and crimes against humanity during its war on Gaza, has challenged the US to justify its claims that his findings are flawed and biased.
 
Goldstone told Al Jazeera on Thursday that he had not heard from the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, about the flaws Washington claims to have identified in the report.

"I have yet to hear from the Obama administration what the flaws in the report that they have identified are. I would be happy to respond to them, if and when I know what they are," Goldstone said.

"The Obama administration joined our recommendation calling for full and good-faith investigations, both in Israel and in Gaza [by Hamas], but said that the report was flawed."

'Personal attack'

Goldstone said the attacks on him had become personal and that he believed most critics had not even read the report.

"I've no doubt, many of the critics - the overwhelmingly majority of critics - have not read the report," he said.

In video

Interview with Al Jazeera

"And, you know, what proves that, I think, is that the level of criticism does not go to the substance of the report.

"There still have not been responses to the really serious allegations that are made. People generally don't like to be accused of criminal activity.

"So it didn't surprise me that there was criticism, even strong criticism, and it has come from both sides."

Goldstone said he regretted the "extremes from which some of the criticism has come and the fact that it has been so personal".

The remarks follow US criticism of the report, which it says is one-sided.

The US was among countries which voted against a UN human rights council resolution on the report passed in Geneva by 25 votes to six with 11 countries abstaining.

Palestinian support

But other UN diplomats have vowed to support Goldstone.

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, has said that he expects the Goldstone Report to be given serious consideration at the UN Security Council.

"We know that there are certain members in the Security Council that prefer that the [UN] council on human rights and the [UN] General Assembly deal with this issue [and] not the Security Council. But we will not take "no" from anyone.

"We will contact all members of the Security Council and we expect the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities with regard to the implementation of the recommendations in the report addressed to the Security Council."

The Goldstone report also accuses Hamas, the Palestinian faction in control of Gaza, of war crime violations, but it reserved most of its criticism for Israel.

Israel's three-week offensive on Gaza between last December and January killed about 1,400 Palestinians, a majority of them women and children, and 13 Israelis.

Israel said it attacked the coastal territory to stop Hamas fighters firing rockets into southern Israel.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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