Dave Bender, Khaled Khalefe
April 8, 2011 - 12:00am

Israeli President Shimon Peres is set to ask United Nations to invalidate Judge Richard Goldstone 's 2009 report on the Israeli army's role in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

The presidential request comes in the wake of the South African jurist's regret over some of UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict probe's conclusions, in an op-ed published in The Washington Post last week.

Peres has called the report "a mockery of history," and "fails to distinguish between the aggressor and those acting in self- defense."

He is in the United States for meetings with senior officials, including President Barack Obama, is expected to meet U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday.

The Goldstone report accused the Israeli military of carrying out war crimes and crimes against humanity during the month-long foray into the coastal enclave, in order to quell incessant Hamas rocket fire against Israeli cities and towns.

Foreign Ministry officials told the Ha'aretz daily this week, that, while it was unlikely that the Israeli leader would succeed in persuading the world body to strike down the report, the General Assembly might consider adopting a new resolution canceling their previous acceptance of the report and its findings.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called on National Security Adviser Ya'akov Amidror to oversee a team from the Defense, Foreign, and Justice ministries to come up with methods of revoking the report.

"We will try to undo some of the damage caused," Netanyahu said, adding that he hoped "to see the report canceled."

Meanwhile, attorneys in the U.S. representing several Israeli legislators are set to file a class-action civil lawsuit Goldstone next week.

Likud Party Knesset member Danny Danon, who is also visiting the U.S., met with attorneys who are willing to press the case on a pro bono basis, according to The Jerusalem Post newspaper. Danon also plans to sue the jurist in Israeli courts if Goldstone visits Israel.

Goldstone's 574 page report, which accused Israel of purposely targeting civilian non-combatants, hit the diplomatic world like a tsunami when it was released in September, 2009.

The UN General Assembly in March voted to forward the report to the Security Council, in order to press charges against Israel in the International Court in the Hague.

Israel, for its part, refused at the outset to work with the report's investigators, charging that the group's makeup of officials with known anti-Israel positions, and its stated mission were intolerably slanted against the Jewish State from the start.

As well, many critics of the report called it a modern-day blood libel against Israel, but that Goldstone, as a Jew, provided a fig leaf against claims that the body was motivated by anti- semitism or malice.

"The Goldstone Report was a 2010 model of the blood libel," said Danon, who chairs the Knesset's Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs Committee.

"The distorted picture of the State of Israel that Goldstone generated harmed, harms and will continue to harm Israel and her citizens for decades. A public apology in any state may help to reduce the damage that was caused," Danon said, according to the Post.

Since the report's release, Goldstone has been hailed by pro- Palestinian groups and international bodies as a no-holds-barred human-rights champion.

However, Goldstone, a respected jurist, has also encountered vociferous wall-to-wall opposition by many pro-Israel groups and supporters internationally, as well.

They charge that the report slandered Israel and whitewashed or totally overlooked Hamas' own not-inconsequential war crimes. They pointed to Hamas militants firing thousands of rockets into civilian areas within Israel, and hiding behind Gazan non- combatants when Israel retaliated.

And so, in an out-of-the-blue reversal published on the pages of The Washington Post on April 1, Goldstone said he'd had a change of heart, and in re-evaluating his report's conclusions in light of what he said was new information, said Israel, in fact, did not commit war crimes as defined by the Geneva Conventions - and that Hamas did.

Goldstone, however, charged in "Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes," that if Israel had cooperated with his fact-finding committee at the time, it could have made its case that Israeli jets and tanks didn't deliberately target civilians as a matter of policy.

Nor, Goldstone stressed, was he able to turn to Israeli sources to corroborate Hamas claims over casualty numbers, and deciding who was a combatant and who was a civilian.

His article pointed out, however, that Hamas missiles attacks at hospitals, homes and schools across a swath of southern Israel were, in fact, war crimes. He said that Israel and the IDF acted as any sovereign government and army would facing such daily rocket salvos.

Goldstone, in his article, however, now charges that Hamas, even as a non-state actor, is under the same rules of engagement as Israel. As well, Israel maintains that it does not occupy Gaza since its withdrawal in 2005.

Some Israeli and international media pointed out that Goldstone was being constantly harassed, even having received threatening letters, while others contend that after re-reviewing the details of Cast Lead, Goldstone simply concluded that he was wrong.


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