Terror group demands rewrite; says commission should have used testimonies from Israeli group Breaking the Silence to ‘prove IDF war crimes’

Palestinian Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, gives a speech during a rally in Gaza City, Aug. 27, 2014  (AP/Khalil Hamra, File)
Palestinian Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, gives a speech during a rally in Gaza City, Aug. 27, 2014 (AP/Khalil Hamra, File)


It’s not only Israel that has taken issue with the UN Human Right’s Council’s report into possible war crimes committed in Gaza last summer for its apparent slant.

Hamas on Monday panned the council’s report into last summer’s 50-day conflict in Gaza, calling the report’s conclusions “clearly biased” in Israel’s favor.

A statement by the group called on the UN to censure Israel for “crimes of genocide” and demanded a rewrite of the report, which placed blame on both the Jewish state and Gaza-based terror groups for possibly committing war crimes.

Israel has also roundly condemned the report — but as an attempt to blacken the Jewish state’s reputation, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu calling it “flawed and biased” upon its release last week.

The UN Human Rights Council report (download) condemned both parties but focused more on Israel’s role. It also accepted the Palestinian death count, which has Israel killing 1,462 civilians out of a total of 2,251 Palestinians who died — a 65 percent ratio.

Hamas rejected its characterization as the “de facto authority in Gaza,” perhaps in an attempt to shift blame onto the Palestinian Authority, after the signing of a Palestinian national consensus agreement last May, and recommended that the commission utilize testimonies from left-wing Israeli organization Breaking the Silence.

The statement also suggested that the resignation of the commission’s head, William Schabas — “under Israeli pressure” — contributed to the report’s slant.

Hamas said it welcomed the report’s “condemnation of the crimes Israel has committed,” but took issue with criticism directed toward it and other Gaza-based militant organizations.

The commission found that the “indiscriminate” targeting of Israeli civilians by Palestinian rockets “may amount to a war crime.”

The commission further found that the Hamas executions of 21 Palestinians accused of serving as Israeli collaborators “constitute a violation of article 3 common to the 1949 Geneva Conventions, and therefore amount to a war crime.”

In the statement, Hamas accused the commission of accepting “Israeli fabrications of some events” and said that claims against the group were “exaggerated” and “untrue.”

Schabas, the Canadian Jewish professor who initially headed the HRC panel, resigned in February amid charges by Israel of bias and was replaced by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis.

Seventy-three Israelis, mostly soldiers, were killed during the conflict, which Israel launched with express aim of curbing Hamas rocket fire on population centers and destroying tunnels that extended into Israeli territory.

Israel’s internal report found that 56% of the Palestinian dead were civilians, a figure that supports Israel’s stated emphasis on proportionality and discernment during war. Israel attributes Gaza’s civilian casualties to Hamas’s practice of placing its rocket launchers and building its attack tunnels in residential areas.

As reported by The Times of Israel