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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Israel report on Gaza War rejects charges one by one

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

Jerusalem Post: Defending Israeli actions, the government report said it was not meant to be an "assertion of infallibility," but rejected the charges one by one, attributing excessive damage and casualties to understandable wartime mistakes.

The report said Israel is investigating about 100 complaints and has opened 13 criminal inquiries. A military statement Thursday said criminal cases under investigation now number 15.

Ynetnews: 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.

"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."