Jerusalem Online

Monday, April 4, 2011

State Department: Goldstone affirms U.S. position Israel did not commit war crimes in Gaza

State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner says the U.S. Administration read Judge Richard Goldstone's op-ed 'with great interest', expressing concern over the 'anti-Israeli – Israel bias in the Human Rights Council'.

By Natasha Mozgovya and Haaretz Service

The United States responded Monday to Judge Richard Goldstone's op-ed in the Washington Post in which he voiced regret about blaming Israel for the intentional targeting of civilians in the report he authored on the Gaza war.
State Department Deputy Spokesman Mark Toner said that the Obama administration read the op-ed "with great interest," adding that the U.S. Government did not see any evidence that the Israeli Government committed any war crimes, nor did it intentionally target civilians.

Toner observed that in light of the op-ed, it appears that "Justice Goldstone has reached the same conclusion." He commended Israel, saying that the U.S. administration believes that Israel "has undertaken credible internal processes to assess its own conduct of hostilities".
Writing in the Washington Post column published on Friday, Goldstone wrote "we know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report." He added that "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."
The U.S. deputy spokesman expressed concern for what he called an "anti-Israeli – Israel bias in the Human Rights Council".
Also on Monday, the United Nations addressed the op-ed that has been making waves since its publication, saying that it would continue to treat the report written by former Judge Richard Goldstone about Israel's incursion into Gaza as legitimate, despite his recently voiced regret regarding some of his damning allegations.
A spokesman for the UN rights council said for the report to be withdrawn Goldstone would have to submit a formal request to the Geneva-based body, which he has not done. 

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