Israel to respond to UN's Ban on Goldstone report
Israel will report to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon Friday on the military investigations it has conducted so far into allegations that it committed war crimes during last winter's Gaza war, a spokesman confirmed.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said it would submit the report of some 36-40 pages to Ban's office in the afternoon, New York time.
He said the document was not a formal reply to the UN report on the Gaza offensive, authored by South African judge Richard Goldstone and adopted by the General Assembly in early November, DPA reported.
Rather, Palmor insisted, it was a "letter of response" to the secretary general, who had asked the sides to report to him on actions taken to investigate the allegations made in the report, before he himself is scheduled to report back on it to the General Assembly on February 5.
The Goldstone report said it found "strong evidence" that both Israel and the radical Islamist Hamas movement ruling Gaza committed war crimes during the 23 days of combat last winter. It called for prosecution at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, unless the sides launched credible investigations of their own within six months.
Palmor noted Israel was still working - right up until the last minute - on the final draft of its document to Ban.
He said: "basically it describes the functioning of the Israeli legal system ... how it's done absolutely everything to ensure that the Israeli army's operations are within the boundaries of international law and what it has done to investigate" the allegations of international and humanitarian law violations.
Israel has thus far not formed a commission of inquiry independent of its military, as demanded by the Goldstone report.