Israel Responds to U.N. 'Fact Finding' Report

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel rejected allegations of "crimes against humanity" in the United Nations "Gaza Fact-Finding Mission Report," released on Thursday, September 15.

"[The report] exceeded the limits of Israel-bashing that we've become accustomed to," Israeli Minister of Information Yuli Edelstein said.

"Making such allegations, disguised as 'protecting human rights,' is more than a stretch," he said.

Michael Freund is chairman of the Shavei Israel Organization and has written an editorial critical of the Goldstone Report for Thursday's Jerusalem Post. He joined CBN News from Israel via Skype to discuss the practical implications of this report and it's legal effect. Click here to watch.

The Goldstone Report, named after former South African judge Richard Goldstone who led the investigation, accuses Israel of "actions amounting to war crimes against humanity" in its three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip, last December and January.

"Israel is appalled and disappointed by the report published on 15 September 2009 by the Gaza Fact-Finding Mission," Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"The report effectively ignores Israel's right to self defense, makes unsubstantiated claims about its intent, and challenges Israel's democratic values and rule of law," the statement read.

The press release quoted Mary Robinson, former high commissioner for Human Rights, who turned down an offer to head the U.N. investigation because it was "not guided by human rights but by politics."

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, in Washington this week, said the government's decision not to interact with the group was based on its predisposition against Israel.

"[The report] is a cynical attempt a role reversal in blaming Israel for war crimes instead of terrorist organizations," Ayalon told Israel Radio.

Ayalon said Israel hoped to enlist support from other Western democracies "to prevent turning international law into a circus."

Both the United States and the European Union opposed the U.N. fact finding mission, Ayalon said.

The Foreign Ministry's statement also noted that the U.N. investigators were "continuously accompanied by Hamas officials" during their visits to Gaza.

Gaza-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh said his government simply helped the committee investigate "crimes perpetrated by the occupation [Israel] in the war."

But Hamas was not happy with the report's "political imbalance."

"The report puts those who committed the crimes and those who fought against them on the same level," one senior Hamas official commented.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Israeli defense official called the comparison between those who foment terror and terror victims "unconscionable."

"[The report] not only rewards terror, it also encourages it," one official said on Israeli Radio Wednesday morning.

"The defense establishment is gearing up to give legal counsel to IDF [Israel Defense Forces] officers and the proper legal and diplomatic steps are already underway to render this report invalid," he said.

*Original Broadcast Date: September 16, 2009.

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