WASHINGTON, April 2 (UPI) -- The retired South African judge who headed a U.N. investigation of the Israeli invasion of Gaza now says he does not believe Israel targeted civilians.
"We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report," Richard Goldstone said in an op-ed piece Friday in The Washington Post. "If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document."
On the other hand, Goldstone said, Palestinian rockets attacks on Israel from Gaza were undoubtedly aimed at civilians. He said Hamas, which controls Gaza, has the same obligation to avoid war crimes as Israel.
Israeli leaders demanded the report's retraction. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Saturday Goldstone's change of heart shows Israel's version of events was true, Ynetnews reported..
"Israel's investigating authorities are worthy, while Hamas investigated nothing," he said. "The fact that Goldstone withdrew his conclusions must lead to the retraction of the report once and for all."
Goldstone criticized Israel for its failure to cooperate with U.N. investigators. But he said that unlike Hamas Israel has been willing to investigate alleged war crimes after the fact.