Many political figures are furious with Interior Minister Eli Yishai following his decision to invite Judge Richard Goldstone to visit Israel. The minister invited the South African judge on his own accord and against all the government's strategic plans, Ynet learned Tuesday. Political elements said Yishai had caused great damage to Israel with his gesture.
The Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office have been working on plans to address Goldstone's recent retraction of war crimes accusations against Israel. Yishai did not coordinate his invitation with any political element dealing with the Goldstone issue and has not discussed the matter with the prime minister or foreign minister.
"This invitation goes against everything Israel planned on doing," a political element told Ynet. "This is not the way Israel planned on addressing Goldstone after his report."
Senior state officials said the interior minister's invitation was not coordinated with any government official. "It's unclear who's running the country. The interior minister is overstepping his authorities and working against what was planned."
Goldstone visits Gaza Strip in 2009 (Archive photo: Reuters)
A statement on behalf of Yishai said: "Minister Yishai invited Goldstone as his personal guest. The invitation was not on behalf of the Israeli government or any official figure. Minister Yishai feels that the judge's stance on Israel will only be changed by way of direct contact. He is confident anyone who cares about Israel's image will support this mission."
Despite Goldstone's words of regret published by the Washington Post last week, many state officials still blame him for causing grave damage to Israel.
"The reason Israel didn't cooperate with Goldstone in the first place was the fact that unlike other judges he agreed to head a committee whose actual mandate was to blame Israel for war crimes," one state official said.
"This man has caused unprecedented damage to the State of Israel. Thousands of Israeli soldiers and officers are subject to legal proceedings around the globe thanks to him. His article of regret has no legal bearing which could prevent these proceedings from going on further."
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