Goldstone Report Accuracy Questioned, Israel President Decries "Blood Libel"
Israeli President Shimon Peres called the Goldstone Report "blood libel" on Sunday, in the wake of Richard Goldstone's reconsideration. "No one has been libeled as much as the Jewish people," he said.
Goldstone presented his new thoughts on what transpired during the Gaza War in an op-ed in The Washington Post.
In the op-ed, Goldstone writes that:
Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes....
In fact, Goldstone makes the argument that he stood up in defense of Israel in the report, despite the Israeli government immediately denouncing it as much now as it did when it was initially released. Goldstone writes:
The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.
An estimated 1,500 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the conflict. The Goldstone Report (.PDF) suggests that war crimes were committed by both the ISraeli Defense Forces and Hamas, with civilians being intentionally targeted.