11 February 2010
The United Nations is likely to refer the findings of the Goldstone report to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’ reports, citing diplomatic sources in New York. A decision to bring the report on last year's Gaza war before the court would follow a debate in the UN General Assembly (GA) over UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon's report on the responses to the Goldstone report given by Israel and Hamas respectiviely.
Libyan GA President Ali Treki announced on Saturday that member states were drawing up a plan of action over Ban's answer to the report, in which retired South African Judge Richard Goldstone accused both Israel and Hamas of having committed war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity”. According to ‘Haaretz’, Ban is thought to be against a public debate and referral to The Hague, fearing that further criticism of Israel would only delay the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. However, most observers believe that Islamic UN member states will demand a plenary session on the report.
Meanwhile, a member of the Goldstone Committee which carried out the investigation last year was accused of being biased against Israel and of using flawed methodology in arriving at his conclusions. The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, led by the former Israeli ambassador to the US Dore Gold, released a report which states that retired Irish Colonel Desmond Travers said only "something like two" rockets were fired by Hamas on Israel prior to the start of last year's Gaza war. Travers was the senior figure responsible for the military analysis that provided the basis for condemning Israel for war crimes.
Israeli military sources found that there were 32 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel over three days alone between 16 and 18 December 2008, according to the Jerusalem Center. The organization accused Travers of demonstrating a fundamental bias against Israel during the fact-finding mission. In a February 2010 interview with ‘Middle East Monitor’, Travers asserted that Israeli soldiers had "taken out and deliberately shot" Irish peacekeeping forces in southern Lebanon.
Travers said the accusations against him were “derisory and nonsense”. He told the ‘Irish Times’ that although a formal response had to come from Judge Richard Goldstone of the fact-finding mission, the accusations against him were “not new and fall into the sort of category of misrepresentation that they in turn have accused me of”.
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