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Goldstone's colleagues turn on him

    Three members of the panel that investigated Operation Cast Lead in Gaza two years ago have published a joint statement accusing the chairman of the group, Richard Goldstone, of "misrepresenting the facts" following his retraction of the report.

    In his op-ed in the Washington Post, Mr Goldstone wrote that following the findings of a committee headed by US judge Mary McGowan Davis, he had reached the conclusion that Israel had seriously investigated the allegation of "operational misconduct" in Gaza and there was now no proof that the IDF had deliberately targeted civilians.

    The three other panel members, Christine Chinkin, Hila Jilani and Desmond Travers, wrote this week: "There is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report". While acknowledging the details mentioned in the McGowan Davis Report regarding the Israeli probes, the panel-members also cite that fact that the investigations have been proceeding at a "slow pace". They also maintained that since a third of the 36 incidents detailed in the original report remain unresolved, the probes are "inadequate".

    Toward the end of their statement, they added "regret that no domestic investigations at all have been started into any of the allegations of international crimes committed by members of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza."

    Ms Chinkin was criticised for joining the fact-finding mission after signing a letter to The Times stating that Israel had committed war crimes in Gaza. And in an interview published after the Goldstone Report was issued, Mr Travers said that Hamas had launched only "something like two" rockets against Israel.

    ● The US Senate last week called on the UN to rescind the Goldstone Report.

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