Gaza’s Hamas rulers on Monday rejected a United Nations Human Rights Council report saying that its fighters may have committed war crimes, but praised the report for fingering Israel for possible war crimes.
The report found that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups may have committed war crimes during the 50-day conflict last July-August.
While much of the report focused on Israel’s wrongdoings, the authors also said “Palestinian armed groups” had indiscriminately fired rockets at Israel, which was a possible war crime. Hamas, which rules Gaza, is an Islamist terror group avowedly committed to destroying Israel.
Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said that its rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli military sites, not at civilians. Hamad criticized the UN investigators for what he said was a false balance between victims and killers.
However, Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, saluted the “condemnation” of Israel in the report.
“Hamas welcomes the report’s condemnation of the Zionist occupier for its war crimes during the last war against Gaza,” Barhoum said.
Saeb Erekat, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, said in a statement that officials would study the report, but refrained from offering any opinion on its conclusions.
“The State of Palestine will review the findings and recommendations of the Commission with the highest consideration, in line with its staunch commitment to ensuring respect for these esteemed bodies of international law,” Erekat said in a statement sent out by his office.
“As we begin to do so, we urge the international community to recall that the only true path to peace lies in ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, and in ending crime and the impunity with which it continues to be perpetrated against our people.”
Israeli officials slammed the UN appraisal for suggesting that the IDF may have committed war crimes, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying “the report is biased.”
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni said the report had been commissioned by a UN forum obsessively biased against Israel, and that democratic Israel was capable of investigating its own military operations and does so. At the root of the report’s flaws, she said, was the false parallel between Hamas and other terror groups and the Israeli government that protected its citizens and fought terror.
The report also accepted the Palestinian death count, which has Israel killing 1,462 civilians out of a total of 2,251 Palestinians who died — a 65 percent ratio
Israel says that up to half of those killed were fighters and blames Hamas for all civilian deaths in Gaza, since Hamas and other terror groups placed military infrastructure in residential areas of the crowded enclave.
During the fighting Hamas-led Palestinian terror groups fired over 4,500 rockets and mortar bombs indiscriminately at Israeli towns and cities, with some of the projectiles reaching as far as Tel Aviv in the center and Haifa in the north of the country.