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Goldstone refuses to have report cancelled

    Although the Israeli government is trying to cancel the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, the Foreign Ministry believes that the chances are nil and Judge Richard Goldstone himself, despite his retraction of part of the report's conclusion, has also said he will not co-operate in the efforts to have it cancelled.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has directed his office and the Foreign Ministry to set up a team that will lobby UN members to formally support a motion cancelling the Goldstone Report.

    In an op-ed for the Washington Post two weeks ago, Mr Goldstone wrote that following the emergence of new information in a report by a follow-up committee to the original Goldstone Commission, he reached the conclusion that Israel did not deliberately target civilians during the operation in Gaza 25 months ago.

    Mr Goldstone also said that the IDF had made significant efforts to investigate cases of individual soldiers' misconduct.

    "In the current situation at the UN, especially at the Human Rights Council which originally set up the Goldstone Commission, there is no chance of a formal retraction," said one senior Israeli diplomat.

    "Of course, Goldstone's op-ed is useful as it will help us counter any future legal challenges and attempts at issuing war crimes warrants against our officers and, naturally, the op-ed has great PR value."

    Mr Goldstone himself said last week that he would not himself seek to change the original report or cancel it. He spoke following a statement from Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israeli radio in which the minister claimed to have spoken to the judge and obtained from him a commitment to work on Israel's behalf to cancel the report. Mr Goldstone denied that the cancellation of the report came up in their conversation that was held through an interpreter, and confirmed only that he had been invited by Mr Yishai to Israel.

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