War-torn Gaza (Archives)
Photo: Reuters
Report defends actions during Gaza war
Jerusalem publishes official, 160-page report on Operation Cast Lead, says Israel's actions never violated international law, expresses regret over civilian casualties. Hamas rejects report, calling it 'ridiculous and stupid'

Israel published an official 160-page report on Operation Cast Lead, the military offensive launched in the Gaza Strip in January.


Thursday's report holds Hamas responsible for the need for military operation, citing that the incessant rocket fire on Israel's south made a military strike inevitable, and that Israel did not violate international law.


In the report, Israel admits that despite taking precautionary measures, many Palestinian civilians were wounded and killed during the operation and severe property damages was inflicted.


Nevertheless, the reports states that civilian casualties and property damage do not, by themselves, constitute a violation of international law.


Hamas rocket fire was aimed at civilian population rendering it a clear violation of international law, while Israel's strikes were aimed at Hamas military targets and therefore did not breach it, said the report.


The report, dubbed "Israel's statement of defense," said that "Israel had both a right and an obligation to take military action against Hamas in Gaza to stop Hamas’

almost incessant rocket and mortar attacks upon thousands of Israeli civilians and its other acts of terrorism.


  • For the full report click here


"Israel was bombarded by some 12,000 rockets and mortar shells between 2000 and 2008, including nearly 3,000 rockets and mortar shells in 2008 alone… These deliberate attacks caused deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage; forced businesses to close; and terrorized tens of thousands of residents into abandoning their homes."


Hamas official Mushair al-Masri rejected the report, repeating the charge that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza. "This report is ridiculous and stupid and does not deserve a response," he said Thursday.


Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the Hamas rocket fire but charged that Israel's response was excessive.


Legal adviser named to Hague Embassy

The Israeli Defense Forces, added the document, "Were guided by International Humanitarian Law, including the principles of distinction and proportionality. These principles, enshrined in IDF training, Code of Ethics and rules of engagement, required IDF forces to direct their attacks solely against military objectives and to try to ensure that civilians and civilian objects would not be harmed."


The report also states that Israel explored different avenues prior to launching the operation, including seeking the UN and UN Security Council's intervention and launching direct and indirect negotiation efforts.


The document goes on to detail Hamas' escalating attacks on Israel, which included kidnapping IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in June of 2006, as well as its use of civilian facilities, such as mosques, schools and hospitals, bases of operations.


Israel also noted its continuous efforts to coordinate humanitarian aid shipments into Gaza, and the various ways in which Hamas exploited these efforts to hijack supplies meant for civilian population.


Also Thursday, the Foreign Ministry decided to name a legal adviser to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague, ahead of the publication of two UN reports probing the Israeli offensive in Gaza.


The Foreign Ministry wants to brand them as biased and not credible, laying the groundwork for the foreseeable diplomatic and legal battles ahead.


The Foreign Ministry also intends on launching a campaign meant to thwart any legal actions against Israel. the ministry would like to see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu head its PR efforts.


The new legal adviser will have to deal with any action taken in the Hague-based International Crimes Court (ICC).


AP, Tova Tzimuki and Itamar Eichner contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 07.30.09, 20:06
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