sderot kassam 224.88.
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas on Wednesday defended its actions during the IDF’s Operation
Cast Lead last winter, saying it did not target civilians while firing hundreds
of rockets at Israeli towns, and rebuffing a UN call for a new inquiry.
A report handed by a Hamas
official to The Associated Press days before a UN deadline indicated Hamas will not convene an independent investigation of
its rocket fire.
Israel and Hamas rejected charges by the UN inquiry of
war crimes and possible crimes against humanity, and both appear ready to ignore
the demand for internal investigations.
The Hamas report will be
submitted to the UN later this week, said the official, Mohammed al-Ghoul. Its
argument is that rockets fired from
were meant to hit military targets, but because they are unguided, they hit
civilians by mistake.
Palestinian terrorists fired some 800 rockets and mortar
during the war, killing three civilians, wounding about 80 and slightly
injuring more than 800.
Hundreds of rockets pelted the border town of , where there are
no military bases. They also hit cities as far away as Beersheba,
about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from .
Most Israelis in rocket range stayed in bomb shelters, avoiding further
"Palestinian armed groups have repeatedly confirmed
that they abiding by international humanitarian law, through broadcasting in
different media that they intended to hit military targets and to avoid
targeting civilians," the Hamas report
stated, citing casualties from "incorrect (or imprecise) fire."
The request for independent investigations was made by the UN
General Assembly last November and it gave both sides until Feb. 5 to respond.
Israel also plans to ignore the demand
for a full-fledged inquiry, according to Cabinet Minister Yuli Edelstein. The
allegations of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity emerged from a UN
commission headed by South African jurist Richard Goldstone that investigated
the three-week war.
Israel did not cooperate with the commission and rejected
its findings as biased and unfounded, claiming its actions were in
self-defense, trying to stop years of almost daily rocket salvos from Gaza, and
that it did everything it could to limit civilian casualties.
By rejecting calls for an independent inquiry, both Hamas and could open themselves up to
international war crimes proceedings.