Tel Aviv is lobbying Western powers to prevent a UN report, attesting to Israel’s war crimes during the Gaza carnage, from being adopted by the UN Human Rights Council.
After a three-month investigation, former South African judge and Head of the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, Richard Goldstone, submitted his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday.
The report says that Israel has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip, during a three-week long non-stop onslaught at the turn of the year.
The Israeli army assault, led by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, killed over 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
Stung by the UN report, hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking drastic steps to fend off potential international prosecution of its political and military leaders, hiring high-powered attorneys, lobbying Western governments and launching a public relations blitz.
Netanyahu claimed in a cabinet meeting on Thursday, that if the UN adopts Goldstone’s 575-page report and implements its recommendations, it would strike a "critical blow" to the Middle East peace process.
The hawkish premier is now trying to convince members of the UN Human Rights Council, convening in Geneva, to vote against the proposal.
The Goldstone report demands that both Israel and Hamas launch independent investigations to respond to the allegations brought against them.
The UN report has energized pro-Palestinian groups that have hoped for years to bring Israeli leaders before courts. It was only this week that a pro-Palestinian group, including nine British lawmakers, protested in London calling for the arrest of the visiting Ehud Barak over the Gaza war crimes.