The Goldstone Report is trying to impair Israel's legitimacy and ties its hands in regards to future activities, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Monday, referring to a United Nations report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza.
In response to his faction members' demands to give in to international pressure to set up an inquiry commission to probe Operation cast Lead, Barak said during the Labor faction's weekly meeting, "The Left is acting like a small child, that says, 'I want peace'. This is the difference between a child and an adult. The Child says: I want candy here and now, and the adult must understand the entirety of the considerations and understand who is on the other side."
The first to raise the subject was Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who said, "We must make some kind of move of self-examination. We don't have to examine the soldiers, but we must probe what occurred. Our situation in the world is deteriorating. We must take someone accepted like (former Supreme Court Justice Meir Shamgar), that can be trusted." Minister Yitzhak Herzog, Avishay Braverman and Orit Noked agreed.
Barak, who is against the appointment of an independent commission of inquiry into last winter's Israeli operation in Gaza, did not refer to this matter during the weekly Labor meeting, but spoke of other aspects in the Israeli way of action.
"We will launch an internal discussion in order to amend the rules of warfare, in order to deal efficiently with terror coming out of crowded areas and constructed areas."
As part of the responses to the Goldstone Report, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said that Israel must work to change the rules of warfare in the world.
"This need exists not only for us," the defense minister stressed Monday, "but for all countries dealing with terror – in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other places in the future."
Labor faction meeting, Monday (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Barak also addressed the stalemate in the peace process, noting that US special envoy George Mitchell is expected to arrive in Israel on Wednesday. "Netanyahu will most probably meet with (US President Barack Obama) in the United States on the second week of next month," he said. "Additional meetings may take place."
The defense minister added that Israel "has a responsibility and plans to work as much as it can for the launching of significant negotiations with the Palestinians as soon as possible. It's required and important, and I would also say urgent."
"The gap is still wide and Israel does not give a single sign of meeting its obligations under the road map, halting settlement activities and resuming negotiations where they left off," he told Voice of Palestine radio.