"International law recognizes that in certain circumstances, innocents can be hurt. If a child is brought in front of a military target, it is still a military target," said Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann on Wednesday in a response to global outrage against Israel following alleged violations of human rights during Operation Cast Lead.
Addressing participants at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, Friedmann added: "If you have one soldier trapped in a city, you do not destroy an entire city to get there. The Israeli army has taken every precaution to prevent injury and death to civilians. We are going to great lengths to avoid harm and even endanger our own soldiers to avoid casualties on the other side."
"The terrorists we fight against, however, commit atrocities by using their own people as human shields," he continued. "This is not just a war crime. But for them, the more killed, the better. They exploit their citizens, hospitals, mosques, schools, UN buildings for storage of ammunition, while the international law protection applies only if an apparatus is used for its intended purpose, and not for terror."
Friedmann stressed Israel's need for the international community's support in negating the allegations, which he called "a complete abuse of human rights."
The minister also related to the status of the Arab minority in Israel.
"There is no country in the world treating a minority more liberally than Israel treats the Israeli Arabs," he said. "They identify with our enemies, but we take care of them. [â€¦] They are represented in the parliament. This would not happen anywhere else in the world."