Netanyahu to probe Gaza war in compliance with Goldstone report

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will comply with the demands of the Goldstone Commission into the recent Gaza war by proposing a full investigation into purported war crimes committed during the conflict, which ran from mid-December of last year until the middle of January.

Netanyahu is expected to present his parameters for the commission of inquiry at a cabinet meeting on Thursday. But officials cited by Ha'aretz said the Israeli investigation is likely to spend the bulk of its time determining how Judge Richard Goldstone and his team reached such outlandish conclusions regarding Israeli behavior during the war, and may end up being an indictment of the UN Human Rights Council that commissioned the report.

If Israel commissions its own report, it is sure to make note of Goldstone's shaky history of differentiating between actual war crimes and fictional accounts.

Israel's Makor Rishon newspaper in its weekend highlighted one such incident, recalling how Goldstone, while heading the international tribunal tasked with indicting Serbian war criminals in 1995, ended up indicting a fictional Serbian character based on the false claims of an unidentified eyewitness.

Goldstone's indictment of a man known only as "Gruban" for allegedly raping and torturing Muslim prisoners made international headlines when it turned out Gruban is a fictional character from a famous Serbian novel about World War II.

It was later revealed that the eyewitness was a Serbian war correspondent who made an off-hand comment about the terrible war criminal "Gruban" to an American colleague. Based on nothing more, Goldstone issued an indictment and launched an manhunt for the criminal.

In related news, a war crimes suit filed by a British Muslim lawyer against Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was thrown out by a London court on Tuesday. The court ruled that Barak enjoys diplomatic immunity, and so cannot be prosecuted. The lawyer and his colleagues vowed to continue seeking the arrest and prosecution of any Israeli officials who visit the UK.

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