Israel slams UN Gaza report accusing IDF of war crimes

“Israel rejects outright the U.N. Human Rights Council report. The council is setting new records for hypocrisy and mendacity, out of an obsessive hatred of Israel,” Netanyahu stated.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS and World Israel News

An Independent Commission of Inquiry, mandated by United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), issued a report Thursday accusing IDF soldiers of allegedly committing war crimes on the border with the Gaza Strip while fending off violent riots on the fence.

“Israeli soldiers committed violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Some of those violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity, and must be immediately investigated by Israel,” said the Chair of the Commission, Santiago Canton of Argentina. Sara Hossain of Bangladesh and Betty Murungi of Kenya are also members of the commission.

The report further claimed that more than 6,000 “unarmed demonstrators” were “shot by military snipers week after week.”

Conversely, Israeli research shows that the vast majority of Gazans shot during the violent incidents on the border were members of terror organizations.

“There can be no justification for killing and injuring journalists, medics, and persons who pose no imminent threat of death or serious injury to those around them. Particularly alarming is the targeting of children and persons with disabilities,” said Hossain.

“Many young persons’ lives have been altered forever. 122 people have had a limb amputated since 30 March last year. Twenty of these amputees are children.”

The Commission said it “took note of the Israeli claim” that the protests on the border “masked terror activities by Palestinian armed groups.” The Commission found however that “the demonstrations were civilian in nature, with clearly stated political aims. Despite some acts of significant violence, the Commission found that the demonstrations did not constitute combat or military campaigns.”

Hamas, the terror organization which rules the Gaza Strip and which leads the violent incidents on the border, was not faulted in the report.

Netanyahu: ‘Israel will maintain right of self-defense’

Israel has refused to cooperate with the investigation.

“Israel rejects outright the U.N. Human Rights Council report. The council is setting new records for hypocrisy and mendacity, out of an obsessive hatred of Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. It is Hamas which fires missiles at Israeli citizens, throws explosive devices and carries out terrorist activity during the violent demonstrations along the fence,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated.

“Israel will not allow Hamas to attack Israel’s sovereignty and its people, and will maintain the right of self-defense. IDF soldiers will continue to vigorously defend Israeli citizens against attack by Hamas and the [other] terrorist organizations financed by Iran, which declares its intention to destroy Israel,” the prime minister declared.

“The U.N. Human Rights Council bears no relation to the protection of human rights,” said Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. “The release of this patently false report is a sadly predictable step from a body that has long lost its legitimacy.

“Israel will continue to protect its citizens from the terrorist group Hamas. It is Hamas and its leaders who must be held accountable for their actions. We will not accept the preaching of morals from a council led by authoritarian regimes that violate human rights on a daily basis.”

Funding to UN must be re-examined, minister says

Furthermore, “When the United Nations ignores Hamas’s cynical exploitation of the ‘civilian’ Terror Marches as cover for terrorist attacks and denies Israel’s right to defend its citizens, it becomes a partner in Hamas’ terror. Every country committed to the struggle against terrorism must reexamine its funding to the U.N. in light of its encouragement of Hamas’ terrorism,” he charged.

“The IDF and Israeli security forces will continue to protect Israeli citizens in the South, regardless of the UNHRC’s false and absurd reports.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz slammed the UNHRC’s “theater of the absurd” which “produced another hostile, false and biased report against the State of Israel.

“The report is based on false information in which the facts were not even examined and the sole purpose of which is to discredit the only democracy in the Middle East and to hinder its right to self-defense against the terror of a murderous organization,” he stated.

‘Israel rejects the report outright’

“Israel rejects the report outright,” he added, saying “no party can deny Israel the right to self-defense and the duty to protect its residents and borders from violent attacks. The one who is pushing Gaza’s residents to the fences, including women and children, is Hamas, whose declared goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, and it bears the responsibility,” said the Israeli foreign minister.

Responding to the commission when it was established in May 2018, IDF Military Advocate General Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek rejected calls for an international probe into the violent clashes on the Gaza border.

Afek stated that “even during the most complex and difficult battles, the IDF has always marched in line with the law – and will continue to do so.”

He underscored that this was true even when the IDF was “fighting against adversaries devoid of morality and a commitment to that same law.”

The UNHRC’s decision to establish a commission of inquiry into the Gaza Strip events “is an example of the exploitation of international proceedings and institutions to undermine the IDF’s legitimate use of force,” Afek charged.

The IDF “does not need external encouragement or pressure in order to examine its conduct,” he added. “The IDF and its legal system are not immune to criticism, and we do not seek such immunity. We act independently, transparently, and professionally. We are constantly under external legal oversight. Many states can only aspire to such standards,” he said.

The UNHRC has been repeatedly accused of being biased against Israel. Nearly half of its resolutions are focused on Israel, while it ignores war, strife, and atrocities around the globe. Israeli leaders and officials have cited the UNHRC for its “obsessive hostility” toward Israel and its “one-sided mandate.”

Over the past 10 years, the UNHRC has passed 62 resolutions condemning Israel, while the world’s worst human rights abusers in Syria, Iran, and North Korea received far fewer condemnations.

‘Another absurd report whitewashing Hamas terror’

Anne Herzberg, NGO Monitor’s Legal Advisor and U.N. Liasion, noted Thursday after the report’s publication that “the U.N. Human Rights Council, dominated by dictators and rights abusers, has issued yet another absurd report whitewashing Hamas terrorism while condemning Israel for protecting its citizens. It is laughable that the U.N. treats cross-border violence as the same as a domestic policing situation.”

She said that the Commission’s findings were not “surprising given the U.N. relied overwhelmingly on information provided by Hamas and terror-linked NGOs, and uncritically adopted their false claims. The Commission itself had no military or legal expertise, and was completely unqualified to author this report.”

She further charged that “horrifically, the U.N. has given Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups a green light to exploit children to serve as cover for violent attacks on Israeli civilians. As usual, the U.N. Human Rights Council has done nothing to protect human rights, but rather has encouraged ever more violations.”

Danon: ‘Report ignores the only truth’

“The countries of the world should consider their membership in the Human Rights Council, which supports a murderous terrorist organization,” Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon stated. “This is council is blinded by hatred of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, and it wastes its resources and time in political attacks and spreading lies.

“The report ignores the only truth: that IDF soldiers acted morally to protect Israeli citizens while Hamas sent children to the fence and used them as human shields.”