JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday that he would never allow any of the country's leaders or soldiers to be put on trial for war crimes.
Netanyahu made the comments during a speech at the opening of the winter session of the Israeli parliament and addressed the recent United Nations Goldstone report that accused Israel of committing war crimes during its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Netanyahu said that Israel has the right to defend itself and that Israel "will not agree" to a situation where wartime leaders or troops who participated in the operation would stand trial.
Several Israeli officials have been threatened with lawsuits in various European capitals.
Meanwhile, Israel is "working hard" diplomatically behind the scenes to face the threat of the Goldstone Report, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on Monday.
Palmor made the comments to CBN News after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas renewed his push for a vote on the war crimes report in the United Nations Human Rights Council reversing his decision earlier this month to delay voting for six months.
Palestinian officials withdrew their support originally under what Palestinian and U.S. officials said was heavy U.S. pressure. But the decision drew sharp criticism among Palestinians against Abbas.
According to Palmor, the United Nations discussion will be held as part of the regular discussion on the Middle East by the Security Council.
He said that Israel was surprised both when the Palestinians originally withdrew the draft and now that they are submitting it.
Israel is working in diplomatic circles in New York and Geneva to face the threat of the Goldstone report, Palmor said.
The report is not only a threat to Israel but to "all democratic countries who may be involved in the war against terror," he said.
Sources: Associated Press, Israel Foreign Ministry