Israel Outraged at 'Biased' UN Report on Gaza Operation
Israel National News (Link) - Hana Levi Julian (May 5, 2009)
The Foreign Ministry expressed outrage Tuesday in response to a United Nations report that accused the IDF of deliberately targeting United Nations buildings during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The report was "unbalanced, biased and ignores the facts," Israel said in its rejection. It called on the U.N. to take a second look at the "complex reality in which a terror organization operates in proximity" to its facilities.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to submit his response to the report to the Security Council on Tuesday, when he will release the full report.
IDF Investigation Completed 2 Weeks Ago
Two weeks ago, Israel completed its own independent investigation into allegations that the IDF fired at a UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) compound during the war.
"The findings of these inquiries… proved beyond doubt that the IDF did not intentionally fire at the U.N. installations," said the Foreign Ministry in a statement.
"One must wonder why the report assigns no blame to the Hamas organization, which placed its installations and dispatched its men to confront the IDF in proximity to the U.N. installations. It is very regrettable that this pattern, as well as the responsibility of Hamas for harming Israeli and Palestinian civilians, was disregarded by the [U.N.] investigators."
The Foreign Ministry noted that the IDF "took a series of measures meant to ensure international and U.N. facilities and vehicles were not harmed, including clearly marking them on operational maps and briefing officers and soldiers on the ground."
Report 'Ignores the Facts'
The report did not mention even once the circumstances that led to the counterterrorist operation – eight years of increasing rocket and missile attacks on civilians in southern Israel. Nor did it include any evidence provided by Israel that would have supported the IDF's claim that it had not deliberately targeted U.N. facilities.
It did, however, rely on evidence provided by Hamas, which used "violence and intimidation against citizens of Gaza as tools to prevent them from presenting the actual truth," the ministry reminded.
Israel "rejects the criticism in the committee's summary report, and determines that in both spirit and language, the report is tendentious, patently biased, and ignores the facts presented to the committee," said the ministry in a formal statement.
Ban is expected to note "the close cooperation accorded the inspection team by the Israeli authorities" and the "coordination between the IDF and the U.N. during Operation Cast Lead" in his response to the report Tuesday.
Israeli investigators provided "full cooperation" to U.N. investigators – unlike the Hamas terrorists – in the form of "intelligence materials, including videos, aerial photographs, eyewitness reports and other materials," said the ministry.
Nevertheless, "The committee has preferred the claims of Hamas, a murderous terror organization, and by doing so has misled the world."