United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay defended on Feb. 24 the controversial Goldstone investigation into Israel’s 2008-2009 military assault in Gaza, saying both its methods and conclusions were sound. The report by a team headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone was issued last September and found that both the Israeli army and Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, were guilty of war crimes in the conflict but focused more on Israel. Israel, which refused to cooperate with Goldstone, has condemned the report as distorted and biased and rejected the war crimes allegations. Hamas denied its fighters committed war crimes but has said it regrets Israeli civilian deaths. Pillay said U.N. rights missions like Goldstone’s were vital for the pursuit of truth, despite attacks by governments and other parties seeking to distract attention from the findings. (Reuters)

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