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MFA ex-aide: Israel must respond to UN report

    Israel must face up to the fallout from a UN report accusing it of war crimes in Gaza, a top international lawyer and former Israeli diplomat told the JC this week.

    Alan Baker, former legal adviser to Israel’s Foreign Ministry and ex-ambassador to Canada, dismissed hopes in Jerusalem that the document, presented last month to the UN by South African judge Richard Goldstone, would be shelved.

    “It cannot be ignored by Israel. It is too damaging to be ignored. I think that Goldstone’s own intentions were honourable but the report will be used in an attempt to prosecute and condemn Israel.”

    Mr Baker was speaking after he had delivered a Foreign Office-sponsored lecture to mark the 60th anniversary of the Geneva Convention.

    He told his audience of diplomats and academics that the findings of the Goldstone inquiry were the opening of “legal warfare” against the Jewish state.

    Mr Baker said that Israel should set up a commission to investigate the report’s findings. “Goldstone said the inquiry would be impartial but it was not,” he said.

    There had been no mention in the Goldstone report that Israel had acted in self-defence, he said.

    “It says that the Hamas rockets were crude and ineffective, but 8,000 of these ‘crude’ rockets were fired at Israel in a completely indiscriminate way, and it was just pure luck [that there were not more casualties].

    “This is a problem that international humanitarian law does not want to deal with.”

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