US lawyers to sue Goldstone over Gaza report reversal

A group of US lawyers has announced plans to sue Judge Richard Goldstone following his acknowledgment that Israel had not intentionally targeted civilians during Operation Cast Lead, nearly two years after he reported to the contrary.

The civil lawsuit, to be filed in a Manhattan court, will call on the South African judge to make a public apology to Israel for the allegations as well as pay a symbolic amount in damages.

Judge Goldstone said last week in the Washington Post that he no longer stood by central claims of his controversial report into IDF conduct in Gaza and that, with the benefit of hindsight, his findings would have been different.

He also pointed to bias in the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), the group which commissioned the probe.

However Judge Goldstone said he would not seek to nullify the report and the HRC said the comments were just personal opinion.

Lawyer Steve Goldberg decided to take legal action following a meeting with Israel's Deputy Knesset Speaker Danny Danon, who is listed as one of the parties in the lawsuit.

Mr Goldberg said in the lawsuit that he and others were "victims of libel by and through allegations and distortions publicly stated in the report on the state of Israel's military action".

Mr Danon said he also planned to file a lawsuit in Israel. He said an apology from the judge was necessary to "repair some of the immense damage that has been inflicted on [Israel's] international standing".

    Last updated: 3:43pm, April 7 2011