Israel PM appeals to world leaders to reject Goldstone findings

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Jerusalem, Sep.17 (ANI): Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has termed the controversial Goldstone report as a "prize for terrorists" and described the commission, headed by South African Constitutional Court Judge Richard Goldstone, as a "kangaroo court" whose conclusions were drawn up before the hearings even started.

The Human Rights Council, which mandated Goldstone to "investigate all violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law by the occupying power, Israel, against the Palestinian people," will review the findings on September 29.

Simona Halperin, director of the Foreign Ministry's International Organizations and Human Rights department, said while it was almost certain - because of its composition - that the council would adopt a critical resolution, "we need to ensure that the democracies that care about the rule of law will not support the one-sided resolution."

In other words, Israel's diplomatic efforts are now centered on ensuring that any critical resolution that comes out of the Human Rights Council, and which perhaps forwards the report for discussion to the UN Security Council, will be approved by countries like Cuba, Nicaragua, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and not by countries like South Korea, Canada, Brazil, France and Italy.

Without support of the world's Western democracies, the logic goes, such a resolution would lack moral authority.

Another senior government official said that while until now the Foreign Ministry's focus regarding the Goldstone Report was to argue about Israel's right to defend itself, and to deflect accusations of war crimes, since the document was issued the message has been recalibrated and is now portraying the report itself as part of a greater problem facing the West: defending itself against terrorists.

Israel, meanwhile, is also mounting an aggressive diplomatic campaign at the United Nations, with Israeli officials planning to meet on Wednesday with US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, as well as with other US administration officials and members of Congress.

Gabriela Shalev, Israel's permanent representative to the UN, said "concentrated diplomatic efforts" would target members of the Security Council, which could send the matter to the International Criminal Court at The Hague unless the referral is vetoed by an Israeli ally.

"We trust our friends, the United States, for full support," Shalev said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who is currently in the US, said the Goldstone Report "is a dangerous attempt to harm the principle of self-defense by democratic states and provides legitimacy to terrorism." (ANI)

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