Ne­tanyahu crit­i­cizes up­com­ing UN re­port on Gaza Strip war

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benjamin Ne­tanyahu on Sun­day crit­i­cized a forth­com­ing United Na­tions re­port into last year’s war in the Gaza Strip, call­ing it a waste of time.

In­stead, he said an in-depth Is­raeli re­port — and an­other unof­fi­cial re­port com­piled by a group of re­tired West­ern gen­er­als — show “the truth” be­hind the fight­ing. Both doc­u­ments say Is­rael did its ut­most to avoid civil­ian ca­su­al­ties and said Gaza’s Is­lamic mil­i­tant Ha­mas rulers de­lib­er­ately at­tacked Is­raeli civil­ians while us­ing their own peo­ple as hu­man shields.

“Those who want to know the truth should read this re­port and read the re­port of the top gen­er­als,” Ne­tanyahu told his Cabi­net. “Who­ever wants a base­less, au­to­matic ac­cu­sa­tion against Is­rael can waste their time read­ing the U.N re­port. As far as we are con­cerned, we will con­tinue to pro­tect our sol­diers and they will con­tinue to pro­tect us.”

Over 2,200 Pales­tini­ans, in­clud­ing hun­dreds of civil­ians, were killed, while 73 peo­ple died on the Is­raeli side.

Is­rael says Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers are re­spon­si­ble for the civil­ian ca­su­al­ties be­cause it launched at­tacks from res­i­den­tial ar­eas. Pales­tini­ans have said that the Is­raeli army vi­o­lated the rules of war, which in­clude giv­ing ad­e­quate warn­ing to civil­ians, us­ing pro­por­tion­ate force and dis­tin­guish­ing be­tween civil­ians and com­bat­ants.

The U.N. Hu­man Rights Coun­cil’s re­port is ex­pected to be re- leased this week. In an­tic­i­pa­tion, Is­rael pre­pared a re­port it says proves Ha­mas’ crim­i­nal in­ten­tions and ex­on­er­ates Is­rael of the war crimes al­le­ga­tions against it.

In a boost to the Is­raeli case, the High Level In­ter­na­tional Mil­i­tary Group, made up of 11 for­mer chiefs of staff, gen­er­als and other se­nior Amer­i­can and Euro­pean of­fi­cials who con­ducted a fact-find­ing mission, came to sim­i­lar con­clu­sions. It said: “None of us is aware of any army that takes such ex­ten­sive mea­sures as did the (Is­raeli mil­i­tary) last sum­mer to pro­tect the lives of the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion in such cir­cum­stances.”

The Is­raeli re­port re­leased Sun­day said “Ha­mas and other ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions in the Gaza Strip in­ten­tion­ally and sys­temati- cally used strate­gies de­signed to max­i­mize harm to civil­ian life and prop­erty, both in Is­rael and in the Gaza Strip.”

It said that by us­ing that strat­egy of “con­duct­ing hos­til­i­ties from within civil­ian sur­round­ings, Ha­mas and other ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions fre­quently turned civil­ian struc­tures into mil­i­tary ob­jec­tives, ex­pos­ing them and sur­round­ing civil­ians to risk of harm, in a man­ner which vi­o­lated the Law of Armed Con­flict and of­ten con­sti­tuted war crimes and crimes against hu­man­ity.”

The re­port pointed out that Ha­mas and other Pales­tinian groups used U.N. fa­cil­i­ties, schools, hos­pi­tals, mosques, res­i­den­tial build­ings, and their im­me­di­ate vicin­ity, for mil­i­tary pur­poses.

AP

Pales­tini­ans scuf­fle with Is­raeli sol­diers af­ter a Pales­tinian was killed in clashes with Is­raeli forces in the vil­lage of Kafr Ma­lik near the West Bank city of Ra­mal­lah, Sun­day, June 14.

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