JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel says it "utterly rejects" a new United Nations Human Rights Council report Thursday condemning the Jewish State for its response to violent protests on the Gaza border last year during the "Great March of Return."
"This report was born in sin, in a politically biased, one-sided resolution that determined the outcome before the investigation even started," Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.
The UNHRC accuses Israel of intentionally shooting civilians during the protests, which began on March 30, 2018.
IDF soldiers "have intentionally shot children and people with disabilities. They intentionally shot journalists," said legal expert Sara Hossain of Bangladesh, who was one of the three investigators on the commission. She introduced the report with two other experts during a press conference in Geneva.
The commission said it "found reasonable grounds to believe that some violations may constitute international crimes."
The panel investigated the deaths of the 189 Palestinians who were killed during the first nine months of the demonstrations. These violent protests were endorsed by the Hamas terror group and are still held on a weekly and sometimes daily basis.
"The commission found that Israeli security forces killed 183 of these protesters with live ammunition. Thirty-five of these fatalities were children, while three were clearly marked paramedics, and two were clearly marked journalists," the UNHRC report stated.
During those nine months, the Israel Defense Forces allegedly injured 6,106 Palestinians with live fire and another 3,098? were wounded by tear gas canisters, rubber bullets, and bullet fragments.
"Many young persons' lives have been altered forever," Hossain said. "One hundred and twenty-two people have had a limb amputated since March 30 last year. Twenty of these amputees are children."
Although the protestors tried to breach the border fence with the goal of attacking Jewish communities and sent fire kites - or balloons - to set fire to thousands of acres of Israeli land, the UNHRC sees the march as a plea for help.
"The commission finds that these protests were a call for help from a population in despair," said Santiago Canton, who chaired the UNHRC's commission of inquiry into the protests. "Not only Israel, but also the de facto authorities led by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have responsibilities towards them. The commission calls on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, and on all three duty bearers to comply with their responsibilities and improve the living situation in Gaza."
But Nahshon said "no reasonable reader should take this report seriously."
"This report was written by three individuals that lack any understanding in security matters, without relevant professional background," he continued. "Hamas has declared war on Israel and calls to kill Jews. Hamas is orchestrating the attacks and using civilians in Gaza as human weapons to assault Israel and Israeli civilians. Hamas exploits the civilians in Gaza as human shields for terrorists."
He also fought back against allegations that Israel has committed international crimes.
"Israel has responded with restrained action taken only in defense of our civilian population. IDF procedures on the border accord with international law and the standards of other militaries worldwide. Independent military experts have affirmed this. So has Israel's Supreme Court, a world-renowned judicial institution. Israel is proud of its judicial system and of the IDF, which in its actions adheres to the demands of international law. Israel will continue to defend its citizens from these attacks, despite the Council's sentiment that Israel has no right to defend its borders," Nahshon said, adding that the HRC has become "an accomplice of a terrorist organization."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also condemned the report saying the UN had "set a new record of hypocrisy and lies out of obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East."