Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Israel dismisses UN war-crimes charges

Morning Star Online, October 13, 2009

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday never to allow the state’s leaders or soldiers to stand trial on war-crimes charges for their attacks on Gaza last winter.

Earlier this week, a UN report written by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and Gaza’s Hamas government of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Mr Goldstone strongly criticised the Israeli military for launching indiscriminate missile attacks on civilians.

But Mr Netanyahu responded furiously, denouncing the report as “distorted” and claimed that the UN was “encouraging terrorism” by daring to criticise Israel.

Mr Goldstone, who is a Jewish South African, accused the state, which continues to occupy Palestine in defiance of UN resolutions, of using disproportionate force, deliberately targeting civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure as well as having used people as human shields.

His report also accused Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to “spread terror” through its rocket attacks.

But Mr Netanyahu angrily criticised the report’s portrayal of Israeli leaders as war criminals, claiming that “the truth is exactly the opposite.”

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