Clinton: Goldstone problematic for other countries
US secretary of state tells House of Representatives that report accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza could cause problems for United States, other states fighting terror. Congress members urged Obama administration to keep report from advancing to International Court of Justice
She admitted that the report was problematic for the United States and other countries, which face the same type of war on terrorism coming out of populated areas.
The US secretary of state told the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee in a testimony Thursday that the Obama administration believed the issues raised by the Goldstone Report must be subject to an internal inquiry. She said she believed Israel has the ability and the institutions to do so and that the Jewish state was carrying out its own inquiry.
Clinton warned that the US would not be the only one to be affected if the Goldstone Report sets the international standards, and that nearly any other country will be found responsible in a similar way. "I share the concern," she said.
'Defend right to self defense'
Meanwhile, more than 100 Congress members have sent a letter to Clinton, urging the Obama administration to keep the Goldstone Report from reaching the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The letter was initiated by Congressman Ron Klein.
The UN General Assembly president, Ali Treki of Libya, called a meeting on Friday to continue discussing the Goldstone Report, which will end with a decision according to the draft distributed to the committee members, giving Israel and the Palestinians five months to complete their investigations.
The Congress members wrote to Clinton that in although the Obama administration opposes the report strongly, countries which do not share the vision of a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continue to use it as a tool to question Israel's legitimacy and sabotage the peace process. They called on the secretary of state to continue working to stop "these unjustified attacks on Israel".
“We know you share our concerns about an anticipated UN General Assembly resolution that is expected to refer the Goldstone Report to the Security Council, and ultimately to the International Court of Justice,” said the letter. “This is an extremely troubling development that threatens to undermine the renewal of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a critical time, and is counterproductive to our foreign policy goals.
“We believe that the correct venue for investigating issues related to Operation Cast Lead is not the Security Council or the International Court of Justice, but the world-class Israeli justice system itself," the Congress members wrote.
They also asked Clinton to work to defend the right for self defense of Israel, the US and all free democracies, saying this was a top priority of the American foreign policy.