IDF soldiers stand atop a tank near the border with Gaza. [File].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon launched a scathing attack against the UN Human Rights Council’s report on last year’s operation against Hamas terrorists in Gaza, released on Monday. He utterly rejected the report, saying Israel’s Operation Protective Edge was just in every way.
“Israeli civilians, and residents of the South in particular, absorbed volleys of missile and rocket fire, which were launched from population centers at our civilians,” Ya’alon said.
Describing the UNHRC as a “biased and hypocritical body,” Ya’alon said its report is “distorted and has one aim: to tarnish the face of the State of Israel and add fuel to the fire of delegitimization against it.
“The State of Israel acted in accordance with international law in Operation Protective Edge, and did all it could to prevent harm to civilians.
Hamas and [the other] terrorist organizations are the ones who chose to place weapons and missile launchers in the heart of civilian areas, in mosques, hospitals, educational institutions, and other places – and in more than a few cases, IDF soldiers refrained from operating against these weapons caches out of concern of harming noncombatants,” Ya’alon stated.
The defense minister described the UN report as “a serious blow against the countries of the Western world – of which Israel is a part – that must fight against relentless terrorist organizations. They find themselves, more than once, in impossible situations, in which terrorists exploit our sensitivity to harming human lives.”
Hamas and other Gazan terrorist organizations are the ones that committed war crimes, ignore international law, and challenge the world order, Ya’alon said.
“It is incredible that around us tens of thousands of civilians are being slaughtered by countries and organizations, and no one on the Human Rights Council is dealing with that. It is not surprising that this hypocritical body ignores the systematic violation of human rights in countries around us, but chooses to attack and criticize Israel specifically, the only democracy in the Middle East,” the defense minister continued.
“The attempt to compare Israel to Hamas, or to present Israel as committing war crimes, is despicable. We will not tolerate the attempt to tarnish the soldiers and commanders of the IDF, who operate in a complex reality, but ensure that they safeguard moral values. In places that we felt that there was a need to carry out checks by commanding officers, or launch criminal investigation, we did not hesitate to do so, out of our own initiative, and we have tried those who broke