Israeli ex-diplomat says “We erred in boycotting Goldstone report” 19Oct09 October 20, 2009

Haaretz -  19 October 2009


Israel’s former ambassador to Germany, Avi Primor, criticized his country’s response to the Goldstone Report in a newspaper interview published Monday.

“The Israeli government was wrong to boycott the investigation led by South African war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone,” Primor told German daily Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung.

“We should submit our position, our arguments and not stay away,” Primor said.

The Goldstone report accused both Israel and Hamas of committing war crimes against civilians during this year’s 22-day conflict that ended January 18.

In the interview, the former diplomat said that while everybody in Israel rejected the report, nobody dared to ignore it.

“People speak out vehemently against it, but know it can’t be disregarded,” he told the paper.

Primor said that Goldstone also took the wrong approach in his report, presented to the UN Human Rights Council.

“(Goldstone) would more likely be accepted in Israel if he had tried to be more balanced,” Primor said, adding that Hamas had unleashed the Gaza war by firing missiles at Israel for weeks on end.

“If Mr. Goldstone had described Hamas as war criminals and then criticized the way that Israel conducted this war, it would have been received differently by us,” Primor added.

He said a Middle East peace deal was possible, but not realistic in coming years, since “Palestinians and Israelis are far too weak to dare to make concessions.”

“The only way a peace deal could be implemented was if the international community became involved to a far greater extent than it had done to date,” Primor said.

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