Israel: UN Gaza Report 'Morally Flawed, Biased'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel has rejected the U.N. Human Rights Council report on last summer's war in the Gaza Strip, which says both Israel and Hamas may have committed war crimes.
Israel says the 200-page report was "politically motivated and morally flawed from the outset."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted the council.
"The United Nations Human Rights Council has a singular obsession with Israel," Netanyahu said. "It has passed more resolutions against Israel than against Syria, North Korea, and Iran combined."
"In fact, it has passed more resolutions against Israel than against all the countries of the world combined," he continued. So, Israel treats this report as flawed and biased, and it urges all fair-minded observers to do the same."
Last week, senior generals from the U.S. and NATO countries released their own independent report. They said Israel not only met international standards regarding the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.
Some are saying Israel's standard is so high it challenges other Western nations.
During the 50-day conflict, the U.N. commission said 1,462 Palestinian civilians were killed, a third of them children. It criticized Israel for disproportionate force and failing to change its tactics during the war when civilians were killed, even though Israel warned civilians in several ways.
"But it's hard for me to see how Israel could have done better," Reserve Lt. Col. Advocate David Benjamin told CBN News.
Benjamin is the former IDF chief legal advisor for the Gaza Strip.
"In other words, what could it have done more than warn the people like they did? What could they have done more than make phone calls to individuals inside buildings about to be attacked?" he asked.
While the report says Hamas launched more than 4,800 rockets and 1,700 mortars at Israel, it stops short of blaming Hamas for starting the war.
" it kind of puts the blockade against Gaza as being the root cause. It doesn't suggest that actually the blockade is there because of Hamas terrorism," Benjamin explained.
Ironically Hamas also rejected the findings of the report because of its comparison between Israel and Hamas.
"I think that a fatal mistake and [a] big problem [in] this report that all the time they tried to make kind of comparison between the victims and the murderers," senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said in Gaza City Monday.
Mary McGowan Davis, chair of the commission, said they don't have the evidence to prove war crimes were committed.
"It's a great source of regret that on this occasion we could not travel to Israel and the occupied territory to meet them face-to-face," she said.
But Benjamin said the worst part is the pressure that Israel committed war crimes when it's clear that Hamas did. He said cooperating with the UNHRC wouldn't have made a difference.
"There's a built-in problem, [which] is that most of the decisions to attack certain buildings or targets are based on secret intelligence and that secret intelligence you can't have the enemy knowing about, certainly as long as the conflict is still ongoing," he said.
The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs noted that Israel had preempted a massacre inside Israel by discovering a network of sophisticated cross-border tunnels; that the Iron Dome anti-missile batteries intercepted 735 rockets fired from Gaza, averting an "incalculably higher" Israeli casualty count; and that 875 Hamas rockets actually fell inside Gaza, without reporting the number of casualties from the misfires.
Hamas also rejected an Egyptian ceasefire on July 15 when there were less than 200 Palestinian casualties, thereby making the terror group responsible for more than 1,800 deaths.
Experts say Palestinians intended to use the report when they file claims of alleged war crimes against Israel at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.
Benjamin said it's a great propaganda tool for them, even if it doesn't have much substance.