WASHINGTON – "We have very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the report," US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said Thursday in response to the findings of a UN team that investigated the recent war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas.
UN-appointed former South African Judge Richard Goldstone released his inquest report into Operation Cast Lead Tuesday, stating that both Israel and Hamas had committed war crimes.
"Israel committed actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity," said the report, adding "there was also evidence that Palestinian armed groups committed war crimes, as well as possibly crimes against humanity," by firing rockets into southern Israel.
Rice told reporters following a Security Council session that the US "is reviewing very carefully what is a very lengthy document. We have long expressed our very serious concern with the mandate that was given (to Goldstone's team) by the Human Rights Council prior to our joining the Council, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-sided and basically unacceptable.
"We will expect and believe that the appropriate venue for this report to be considered is the Human Rights Council (in Geneva) and that's our strong view. And most importantly, our view is that we need to be focused on the future," she said.
"This is a time to work to cement progress towards the resumption of negotiations (between Israel and the Palestinians) and their early and successful conclusion."
During his meeting with Ambassador Rice Wednesday evening, Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said the US and other Western countries must "ensure that the report remains in Geneva and is not rolled over to the UN."
Ayalon said during the meeting that the report should be viewed as a serious one by any democracy fighting terror. "The message conveyed by this report is that the methods of terror work and that democracies cannot defend themselves. This is an attempt to damage Israel's ability to fight the wave of terror."