A celebration by the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Amman, Jordan. (AP/Mohammad Hannon)(AP/Mohammad Hannon) (AP/Mohammad Hannon)
Hamas rocket

An extensive Israeli report on Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s 2014 war against Hamas, absolves the IDF of any criminal allegations and proves Hamas is guilty of serious war crimes against both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

Israel publicized on Sunday a comprehensive report on the IDF’s actions to uproot the Hamas terror infrastructure during Operation Protective Edge. The report was published ahead of a pending report compiled by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), slated to be publicized later this week.

The extensive Israeli report, which has been under preparation for some months, implicates Hamas in war crimes and proves its criminal intentions while exonerating Israel of war crimes allegations.

The document states that the IDF did its utmost to avoid civilian casualties, while Hamas, which rules Gaza, deliberately attacked Israeli civilians and used their own citizens as human shields.

Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit presented the report to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Sunday cabinet meeting.

He explained that the report was conducted in collaboration with several military and government bodies, including the Justice Ministry, the IDF military advocate general and others in both the IDF and the National Security Council.

The report includes information on the war crimes perpetrated by Hamas and other Islamic terrorist organizations during the operation; terrorist threats to Israel’s citizens and the State of Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens; IDF conduct during the operation, with emphasis on the various steps taken in accordance with the rules of international law; and action taken to minimize injury to the civilian population in Gaza.

‘Unprecedented Attack of Delegitimization’

Netanyahu thanked the team that prepared the report. “It is especially important because the State of Israel is under an unprecedented attack of delegitimization,” he emphasized.

“This attack is not substantive, it is political,” he said, referring to the UNHRC report. “Its goal is to blacken the State of Israel and we are preparing to respond. This is one response. We will act wherever necessary in order to deal with mendacious claims and anti-Israel initiatives.”

An Israeli woman treated by MDA after a rocket attack.

An Israeli woman treated by MDA after a rocket attack. (Flash90)

The Israeli report presents “the true picture of Operation Protective Edge,” Netanyahu asserted. “The report proves unequivocally that the actions carried out by the IDF and the security forces during the operation were in accordance with international law. They were done out of the need to defend the citizens of the state from a murderous terrorist organization that perpetrated a double war crime” of deliberately firing rockets at Israel while intentionally hiding behind innocent civilians.

“Hamas used schools, hospitals, mosques, UN facilities and crowded civilian neighborhoods for military purposes. From them it deliberately launched rockets and opened tunnels; in them it intentionally concealed arsenals, and operated command centers,” the premier continued.

“The State of Israel and the IDF are indeed committed to the rules of international law even as we fight against terrorist organizations that deliberately violate these rules. I must say that our obligation does not stem from this or that report or this or that UN committee. It stems from the fact that Israel is a democracy and a moral country with values, which operates in accordance with international law,” he underscored.

“Neither do we shrink from investigating ourselves as necessary. The inquiry and investigation mechanisms that exist in the State of Israel about claims regarding violations of the laws of war are among the world’s best. Credible claims are checked as required.”

Netanyahu criticized the UN and its pending report on alleged war crimes committed by Israel, saying it was a waste of time. “If there was ever a body that contradicted itself – here it is, because this body has already proven its hostility to Israel and lack of objectivity regarding Israel…. This is an organization that has passed more decisions against Israel than against Syria, Iran and North Korea combined.”

Netanyahu: IDF Will Continue to Defend Israel

The actions of the Hamas terrorist organization were not investigated at all in the UN report.

“This organization placed at the head of the inquiry committee a man who was clearly biased and who incited against the State of Israel, who was obliged to resign when it became clear that he had accepted payment from Palestinian organizations,” Netanyahu charged, relating to William Schabas, who resigned from heading the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) commission in February after it was revealed that he had offered legal council to the terrorist Palestine Liberation Organization.

“Whoever wants to know the truth should read this report on the Israeli position and read the Senior General’s report. Whoever wants to automatically – and without foundation – blame Israel, let them waste their time with the UN Human Rights Council report. For our part, we will continue to defend our soldiers and they will continue to defend us,” Netanyahu concluded.

In a boost to the Israeli case, the High Level International Military Group, composed of 11 former chiefs of staff, generals and other senior American and European officials who conducted a fact-finding mission, came to similar conclusions about the IDF’s lawful conduct. 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.”

“They are familiar with the international standard; they are familiar with it in their own militaries,” Netanyahu said. “They say that Israel acted beyond the international standard.”

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
(AP contributed to this report.)

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