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Israeli President remains critical of Goldstone report

04-09-2011 13:05 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres on Friday remained critical of Justice Richard Goldstone's refusal to fully squash a United Nations report accusing Israel of intentionally targeting civilians.

Israeli President Shimon Peres speaks at a press conference at the UN
headquarters in New York, the United States, April 8, 2011. Peres on
Friday remained critical of Justice Richard Goldstone's refusal to fully
squash a United Nations report accusing Israel of intentionally targeting
civilians. (Xinhua/Bai Jie)

Goldstone, a South African justice who led a UN fact-finding mission into hostilities of Israel's three-week military offensive during the Gaza war of 2008-2009, recently recanted the conclusion of his report that accused Israel of committing war crimes, but did not indicate any intention to retract most of the report.

Following a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Peres said the contents of the report amounted to "libels" against Israel and criticized Goldstone for not amending the report.

"When (Goldstone) was asked to act in order to correct the mistake in the conclusions, he says no, he regrets the article," Peres told reporters at the UN headquarters in New York.

"You cannot regret the fact that you were wrong and now regret the fact that you said that you were wrong," he added.

Goldstone's retraction came in a Washington Post opinion editorial, in which he praised Israel for conducting its own investigations into alleged rights abuses during the fighting. Israel did not participate in the investigation led by the UN fact- finding mission.

In the article, Goldstone said if he knew what he knows now at the time of the fact-finding mission, the report would have been different. "The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion," he said.

Earlier this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the United Nations to revoke the Goldstone Report following Goldstone's retraction of the conclusions.

Peres on Friday dismissed the basis of the report and UN inquiry, alleging that the Islamic Hamas movement began shooting at Israeli forces in provocation as Israel proceeded to withdraw from Gaza.

"This is not a matter of judicial details, this is a very clear situation," said Peres.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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