Goldstone Report Widens Political Divide in Israel

Israel’s crime-stained image has been topped with internal disputes as right and left-wing advocacy groups brawl over a possible independent Gaza war probe.

The New Israel Fund (NIF) has come under fire by rightists who accuse the civil rights group of aiding the UN Human Rights Council’s fact-finding committee in its inquiry into the war Israel staged against the Gaza Strip in December 2008.

NIF President Naomi Chazan has also been accused of backing the damning report by former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone — a Jew who has also been labeled as a "traitor."

Chazen warned against a "very, very dangerous process" under way in Israel, where human rights groups such as hers were increasingly criticized.

"The very pillars of democratic society are being assailed and we have to be very concerned about that," the former left-wing Meretz party legislator told Reuters.

Goldstone’s report , which sparked outrage against Israel worldwide, charged Tel Aviv with committing war crimes during the three-week offensive in Gaza, which left at least 1,300 Palestinians — mostly civilians — and almost 13 Israelis dead.

Israeli right-wingers accuse the leftist human rights groups of providing a huge bulk of negative references to Israel in the UN report, a claim strongly rejected by Chazen.

The Knesset, the Israeli parliament, this week rejected a motion to investigate the New Israel Fund, but a separate legislative probe has been launched into funding NGOs. The move, targeting human rights organizations in particular, has encouraged calls for investigation into rightist finances.

On Friday, the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected United Nations demands of an independent probe into the Gaza war, saying the report Israel gave UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon earlier this month sufficed.

The world body has labeled Israel’s report as "unreliable."

(Press TV)

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