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Israel to refute Goldstone report findings

Jan. 24, 2010 9:28 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 26, 2010 9:13 A.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Israel will submit its refutation of the Goldstone report to the UN on Thursday, with the aim of dispelling the report’s conclusion that war crimes were carried out by the Israeli army, American media reported on Sunday.

While the content of Israel’s rebuttal remains confidential, officers involved in its compilation told the US daily The New York Times that, among the allegations put forward, Israel will deny that it caused the ruin of the Badir flower mill and the destruction of a water waste plant causing a deluge of raw sewage, suggesting that it may have been hit by Hamas explosives.

The two cases, along with the destruction of chicken coops, water wells, a cement plant and some 4,000 homes, are indicators in the Goldstone report that Israel intended to destroy infrastructure to cause intense civilian suffering, a war crime under international law.

Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the Israeli military advocate general, said in an interview with the daily that those assertions went beyond anything of which others had accused Israel.

"I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League ... We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It’s a vicious lie."

The Goldstone report called on both parties concerned to undertake independent investigations into the allegations put forward by the committee’s findings. Israel has so far only embarked on a military probe into the war.

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