Authors reject Goldstone retraction remarks

Three co-authors of UN report criticising Israelis for targeting civilians in Gaza reject doubts about its conclusions.

    South African judge Richard Goldstone said he had been wrong to conclude that Israel had targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict [AFP]

    Three authors of a United Nations report which criticised Israel over its 2008-2009 offensive on Gaza have rejected calls for it to be retracted after its chief author, Richard Goldstone, expressed doubts over its conclusions.

    They said in a statement to the UK's Guardian newspaper that they found it "necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission's report unsubstantiated.

    "Aspersions cast on the findings of the report... cannot be left unchallenged," wrote Pakistani human rights lawyer Hina Jilani, Christine Chinvin, a professor of international law at the London School of Economics, and former Irish peacekeeper Desmond Travers.

    "We concur in our view that there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in anyway change the context, findings or conclusions of that report with respect to any of the parties to the Gaza conflict," they added.

    Those who have made such calls, they say, "misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimise the findings and cast doubts on its credibility".

    The three did not mention South African judge Goldstone, who gave his name to the report and said last week he had been wrong to conclude that Israel had targeted civilians during the 22-day conflict.

    The report had accused both Israel and the Hamas rulers of Gaza of potential war crimes, setting the tone for widespread international condemnation of the Israeli assault on Hamas-ruled Gaza in which 1,400 people lost their lives, the vast majority of them Palestinians.

    The three authors said in their statement to The Guardian: "We believe both parties held responsible in this respect have yet to establish a convincing basis for any claims that contradict the findings of the mission's report."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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