Head of the UN probe into the Gaza war Richard Goldstone has rejected claims by the Israeli interior minister that he intends to reconsider his final report on the 2008-2009 Gaza war.
Goldstone, who held Israel accountable for war crimes against Palestinian civilians, says he has not been planning to retract the report.
In an interview with AP, Goldstone rejected Eli Yishai’s claim that he is reconsidering the charges against Tel Aviv.
The South African judge said Yishai had called to thank him for his Washington Post op-ed piece and had never discussed the report.
Earlier on Friday, reports began circulating about Goldstone’s plan to retract his findings on Israeli war crimes in the three-week long Gaza war.
In April 2009, Goldstone led an independent fact-finding mission mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate reports of the international human rights and humanitarian law violations during the December 2008-2009 offensive, which left more than 1,400 Palestinians — mostly civilians — dead.
The 2009 report, which concluded that Israeli forces had intentionally fired at Palestinian civilians, triggered outrage in Israel against Goldstone, who himself is Jewish.
The report alleged that the Israeli operations "were carefully planned in all their phases as a deliberately disproportionate attack designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population."
It also recommended that the case should be handed over to an international tribunal if Israel fails to investigate the war crimes committed by its soldiers.
The Israeli interior minister confirmed telling Goldstone to review the key findings of his report and to officially retract it. Yishai, however, did not disclose whether Goldstone had agreed to do so.