Israel issued a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza offensive was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scorned as a waste of time.
The 277-page report, which cited Israel’s internal probes and statements from Western leaders backing its right to self-defence, suggested the Netanyahu government hoped to defuse criticism from the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) inquiry in advance.
Deeming the HRC biased, Israel boycotted its investigators as it did those from the council who looked into its 2008-09 Gaza offensive. That HRC inquiry accused Israel of war crimes.
Launched last July after a surge of cross-border rocket fire by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, Israel’s 50 days of shelling, air strikes and ground incursions in the congested enclave killed more than 2,256 Palestinians, including 1,563 civilians, a U.N. report said in March.
Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel also died in the conflict.
The new Israeli government report disputed the U.N. figures, saying confirmed non-combatants made up 36 percent of the Palestinian dead and many militants were misidentified as civilians.
“Harm to the civilian population also occurred as the result of unfortunate — yet lawful — incidental effects of legitimate military action in the vicinity of civilians and their surroundings, and as a result of the inescapable constraint of commanders not being infallible, intelligence not being perfect and technological systems sometimes failing,” the document said.
In public remarks to his cabinet, Netanyahu again accused Hamas of hiding behind civilians by deliberately operating in Gaza’s crowded districts.
“Whoever wants to continue with baseless blaming of the State of Israel, let them waste time reading the report by the U.N. commission. We, for our part, will continue protecting our soldiers. They will continue protecting us,” he said.
A few facts:
– the conflict started after three Israeli teen-agers (one of whom was an American national) were kidnapped and later founded murdered. A Palestinian teen-ager was murdered reportedly out of revenge for the kidnappings and his killers were later convicted.
– Hamas shot rockets into Israel, one spate shooting thirty rockets in ten minutes
– children were used to dig tunnels (that were later destroyed by the IDF)
– according to Israeli intelligence, the majority of fatalities in this conflict were terrorist operatives (886) with 712 confirmed civilian casualties and 542 casualties were not determined at one time.
I have no idea why Israel- or anyone else- stays in the UN.