Israel has fiercely attacked a report by the UN Human Rights Council commission on war crimes during the Gaza war for being slanted toward the Islamic Hamas movement.
The four-member panel, led by former South African constitutional court judge Richard Goldstone, released the report on Tuesday, charging Israel with ‘actions amounting to war crimes, possibly crimes against humanity’ during its 23-day offensive against Gaza, which killed more than 1,300 Palestinians.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy sharply criticized the report for creating an unjust ‘equivalence of a democratic state with a terror organization’, referring to the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip.
Israel is ‘nauseated and furious about a report that did not surprise us in its imbalance, but did surprise us in the lack of any real pretense to balance’, Levy said.
It is ‘one of the most disgraceful documents in the long collection of shameful documents put out by the United Nations’, he added.
Levy also criticized the commission’s mistrust in the Israeli judiciary and the investigations it launched into alleged violation of international laws during the Gaza war.
"Israel has examined itself in the light of day in innumerable investigations and a robust system of independent courts…We have nothing to be ashamed of, and don’t need lessons in morality from a committee established by Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Somalia."
The foreign ministry official accused the United Nations of protecting ‘terror’.
"It says that terrorists who attack Jews, unlike terrorists who attack Americans, Spaniards, or other Arabs, will earn the protection of the UN," he said.
The Tuesday’s report recommended that the UN Security Council require Israel to launch its own investigations into the Gaza war in conformity with international standards and to appoint a committee of experts to oversee the ‘progress, effectiveness and genuineness’ of these inquiries.
If it failed to do so within three months, the report said, the Security Council should refer Israel’s alleged war crimes to the International Criminal Court, it urged.
The 575-page document, which is due to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council later this month, contained multiple specific instances of alleged war crimes.
These included Israel’s shelling of a house where soldiers had allegedly forced Palestinian civilians to assemble, targeting fleeing civilians waving white flags and sometimes even following Israeli instructions, as well as the alleged targeting of a mosque at prayer time, killing 15 people.
The report also documented ‘direct and an intentional attack’ on al-Qods Hospital. Palestinians’ complaints say they had been used as human shields by the Israeli army.
On the Palestinian side, the report charged Palestinian armed groups with firing rockets into southern Israel from Gaza and failing to distinguish between military targets and the civilian population.