Ahead of Human Rights Council’s report, prime minister says inquiry aims to ‘blacken the State of Israel”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the cabinet at the weekly meeting in Jerusalem on June 14, 2015 (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the cabinet at the weekly meeting in Jerusalem on June 14, 2015 (Ohad Zwigenberg/POOL)


Reading the upcoming UN Human Rights Council report on last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip “would be a waste of time,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday, deriding the yet-to-be-released paper as an attempt “to blacken [the name] of the State of Israel.”

Netanyahu received the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s own report on the conflict Sunday, which was expected to try to head off criticisms thought to be included in the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict.
The Israeli report was being formally released later Sunday. The full UN report will be submitted to the Human Rights Council on June 29, but segments are expected to be released beforehand.

In a statement released to the press, the Prime Minister’s Office said that the main points of Israel’s counter-report highlighted Hamas’s war crimes committed during the war and the IDF’s measures above and beyond international legal requirements to prevent civilian casualties.

“We will act everywhere and as necessary in order to contend with false claims and anti-Israel initiatives,” Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting.

Speaking of the Israeli counter-report, Netanyahu said that it “presents the true fact[s] and demonstrates that the actions carried out by the IDF were done in compliance with international law.”

Hamas’s rocket fire, which helped spark the conflict, “was a war crime,” Netanyahu said, “intentionally hiding in civilian facilities — a war crime.”

“Here’s a detailed catalog of rockets, of tunnels, of mortars, all the things that were done by Hamas,” he said, calling the Islamist terror group’s actions a “double war crime.”

The Human Rights Council commission was tasked with investigating allegations of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups during the 50-day war in the Gaza Strip in 2014. More than 2,100 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed in the conflict, according to Palestinian sources in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip; and 73 Israelis, including 66 soldiers. Israel attributes the high civilian death toll to Gazan fighters’ emplacement of their military infrastructure in residential areas.

Israeli officials refused to cooperate with the probe and have dismissed it ever since the formation of the panel as biased and pre-written.

Canadian Professor William Schabas, who initially headed the HRC panel, resigned in February amid charges by Israel of bias.

After the inquiry was launched last summer, Netanyahu spoke out against it, saying that “this commission’s report has already been written, the one leading it [Canadian Prof. William Schabas] has already decided that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, and that’s why there is nothing for them to do here.”

“First, let them visit Damascus, Baghdad, Tripoli. Let them see the Islamic State, the Syrian army, let them see Hamas — that’s where they’ll find war crimes, not here,” Netanyahu said then.

As reported by The Times of Israel