Monday, October 12, 2009

Netanyahu: No War Crimes Trials for Israelis

Early last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blatantly defied Obama and OKed the construction of 100's of apartments in the West Bank. Today Bibi has taken a strong stand against the Jew hating UN. I wish that America had a leader as strong as this man!

Netanyahu: No war crimes trials for Israelis

JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed never to allow Israeli leaders or soldiers to stand trial on war crimes charges over their actions during last winter's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, furiously denouncing a U.N. report in a keynote address to parliament.

Netanyahu's fiery rhetoric — and his decision to open the high-profile speech with remarks on the report — reflected the deep distress felt among Israeli leaders after a U.N. commission accused Israel of intentionally harming civilians when it launched a massive attack in Gaza to stop years of rocket fire.

"This distorted report, written by this distorted committee, undermines Israel's right to defend itself. This report encourages terrorism and threatens peace," Netanyahu said in his address at the opening of parliament's winter session. "Israel will not take risks for peace if it can't defend itself."

The U.N. report, compiled by a team led by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It specifically accused Israel of using disproportionate force, deliberately targeting civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, and using people as human shields. It accused Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through its rocket attacks.

Israeli officials across the board have condemned the report, saying their country had little choice but to take harsh action against militants who were terrorizing southern Israel. They also blame Hamas for civilian casualties, saying the Islamic militant group took cover in residential areas during the fighting. However, Goldstone's strong credentials as a respected South African jurist, his Jewish faith and past support for Israeli causes have made it hard for Israel to dismiss the claims.

Netanyahu angrily noted the report's portrayal of Israeli leaders as war criminals. "The truth is exactly the opposite. Israel's leaders and its army are those who defended the citizens of Israel from war criminals," he said, before vowing to defend the country's wartime leaders.

"We will not allow Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni and Ehud Barak, who sent our sons to war, to arrive at the international court in the Hague," he said.

While Netanyahu has repeatedly lashed out at the U.N. report, Monday's comments appeared to be a direct response to a new Palestinian push for a vote on the report in the U.N.'s Human Rights Council. If the vote takes place, the matter could be referred to higher U.N. bodies that could theoretically push for war-crimes prosecution.

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