Israeli Parliamentarian to Sue Goldstone

07.04.11 – 16:58

Member of the Knesset, Danny Danon is attempting to file a libel lawsuit against South African Judge Richard Goldstone with the help of Jewish-American lawyers, according to the Israeli online Ynet News.

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South African Judge Richard Goldstone

During the Cast lead operation on Gaza which started on December 2008 and lasted for 22 days, 1,500 Palestinian were killed, including 350 children, as well as 6,000 injured. 13 Israeli were killed, three civilians and 10 soldiers who were killed by friendly fire, according to army reports.

MK Danon dubbed the Operation Cast Lead report, written by Goldstone, “2010 version of blood libel”. Judge Goldstone’s Operation Cast Lead report, in which the Israeli army was reported to have committed war crimes, came under criticism from Israel who denied the accusations therein.

Goldstone issued an op-ed in the Washington Post last week acknowledging that his report caused significant damage to Israel in the United Nations and internationally.  Palestinian human rights organizations have sent an open letter to Richard Goldstone in the Guardian newspaper expressing their concerns about his revised stance in the op-ed.

They are particularly worried about Goldstone’s new assertion that “civilians were not intentionally targeted [by Israel] as a matter of policy‟ and that Israel has “to a significant degree‟ sufficiently self-investigated incidents potentially amounting to war crimes in Operation Cast Lead.

Many see Goldstone’s retraction as a reaction to intense pressure from Israel, the U.S. Congress and world Jewish groups. It is widely claimed that his decision was motivated in part by a follow-up report by a U.N. committee of independent experts chaired by Mary McGowan Davis, a former New York judge.  However, this report is itself very critical of Israel’s conduct during Operation Cast Lead and thus it is unclear in what way it differs from Goldstone’s initial stance.

However, despite the outcry, the UN jurist told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he is not seeking to nullify or alter his original report from 2009. Goldstone told the AP, “There was absolutely no discussion about the Goldstone report on the call.”  The UN Human Rights Council spokesperson Cedric Sapey told the AP that the report still stands, and that “UN reports are not canceled on the basis of an op-ed in a newspaper.” He added that Goldstone has not put in motion for any retraction of the report.

MK Danon will file a petition with a New York District Court next week, in which the plaintiffs will demand a formal apology and a symbolic financial compensation for the State of Israel. A second lawsuit may be filed in an Israeli court if Goldstone arrives in Israel, reported Ynet News.

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