Netanyahu Says Peace Process Won't Continue if Goldstone's Report Is Endorsed

Richard Goldstone,UN investigator, has defended his report on Israel's conduct during the operation Gaza. The report accused Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

As the UN human rights watchdog debated the report and rejected what he called a "barrage of criticism".

A US official dubbed the report "deeply flawed". Israel dismissed it as biased.

Separately, a UK court has rejected an attempt by a Palestinian group to have Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak arrested for alleged war crimes, BBC News reports.

Jewish Telegraphic Agency quoted Benjamin Netanyahu as saying, "In the next 24 hours, a vote will take place in Geneva in the framework of the council known as the United Nations Human Rights Council. I remind you that in recent years, this council has made more decisions against Israel than against all other 180 counties in the world."

The peace process could not continue if the report is endorsed, Netanyahu said, "because Israel will no longer be able to take additional steps and take risks for peace if its right to self-defense is denied."

Netanyahu said that acceptance of the report would also "strike a severe blow to the war against terrorism since it will afford total legitimization to terrorists who fire upon civilians and who hide behind civilians" and would "strike a mortal blow to the stature of the United Nations," Jewish Telegraphic Agency reports.

In the meantime, Israel launched airstrikes against two smuggling tunnels on the Gaza border Wednesday night in response to a rocket fired into Israel from the coastal enclave.

The trade of fire is the latest in a string of recent cross-border hostilities that follows a period of relative calm. A cease-fire has largely held since the end of Israel's war in Gaza in January.

The attacks come as Israel released the forst of 20 female prusoners it promised to let go in exchange for a video proving that Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Hamas in 2006, is still alive, Christian Science Monitor reports.

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