PM Netanyahu (L) with Peter Maurer, president, ICRC. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/FLASH90) PM Netanyahu (L) with Peter Maurer, president, ICRC. (Photo: Kobi Gideon/FLASH90)
Red Cross

Hamas commits a double war crime – targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians – in order to blame Israel for deaths in Gaza, PM Netanyahu tells Red Cross.

Peter Maurer

Peter Maurer, president, ICRC. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a meeting Thursday morning with Peter Maurer, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said that every civilian death is a tragedy, but that Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in Gaza.

“You know, every one of these civilian deaths is a tragedy; we regret every single one,” Netanyahu said. “We do not target a single civilian. And when we met here a year ago, I said to you that Hamas is committing a double war crime: It is both targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, including UN facilities which are not only rocket storage sites, but rocket-launching sites and mortar-launching sites. So Israel has every right to defend itself, and we are obeying the rules of war, the international code. And those who are responsible for all these tragic civilian deaths are Hamas and Hamas alone.”

Hamas Abuses People of Gaza for Anti-Israel PR

The Israeli leader noted that Israel makes every effort to aid civilian non-combatants in Gaza.

“You may know, we’ve put in about 2,000 trucks during the fighting, during the humanitarian ceasefires which we kept and Hamas violated,” he said. “We’ve opened a field hospital which Hamas – right next to Gaza in order to assist the wounded, the Palestinian wounded. Hamas prevents people from coming in. We’re fixing fuel lines, electricity lines for Gaza during the fighting, water supply – during the fighting, as best as we can. Hamas has been the one that’s been deliberately stopping that, so it’s actually a triple thing that they’re doing. They’re not only firing on our civilians, not only hiding behind their civilians and accruing as much civilian deaths as they can pile up, because that’s what they want for the PR game against Israel, but also I think that they’ve done something else, and that’s to prevent and refuse humanitarian assistance that Israel itself offered for their own people. And I think when you put it all together, you understand that there is a deliberate strategy here and that is to have Hamas – Hamas – inflict as much civilian damage as they can on their own people as part of a deliberate strategy to try to have Israel accused in international public opinion.”

It’s Not Only About Israel, Netanyahu Warns

“Now, if international law and the international code basically surrenders to this policy and to this tactic, what it means is that terrorists that are embedded in dense urban populations are firing rockets at neighboring countries – democracies like Israel – and then get Israel or the democracies to be accused when it takes legitimate action against them, that means that democracies and the law-abiding states are absolutely defenseless. What is at stake here is not merely Israel’s ability and legitimate right of self-defense; it’s the ability of all civilized countries and all democracies to defend themselves, because this test case is not only about Israel. What happens here will happen for everyone.

“Now it may seem far-fetched to you, but it’s not,” Netanyahu stated. “This will be everywhere; everywhere [that]you have radicalized Islamic terrorist communities and movements, you will have this phenomenon. The issue here is not merely Israel’s right of self-defense, but the right of self-defense of all civilized countries against this barbarism.”

Source: Government Press Office