(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson)
In response to questions by the media, following
is the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs response to Amnesty
International's report on use of weapons in Operation Cast Lead:
Initial study of the report indicates that it
presents a biased version of the events, and does not adhere to
professional criteria and objectivity. A detailed response will be
given at a later stage, but at this time, it is possible to state that:
1. The report ignores the basic fact that Hamas
is a terror organization, recognized as such by the European Union, the
United States and other countries. This organization has constantly
refused to recognize Israel, rejects any opportunity for peace with it,
and openly aspires to bring about its destruction.
2. There is no mention in the Amnesty report of
Hamas' deliberate use of civilians as human shields: Hamas' bases,
ammunition depots and battlegrounds were all purposely located in the
midst of Palestinian population centers, with willful intent to cause
injury to this population during the fighting. Hamas openly used women
and children as shields for military targets, and booby-trapped homes
and public buildings.
3. While the report does mention Hamas'
intentional targeting of Israeli civilians, it ignores the scale:
Approximately ten thousand rockets and mortars were launched against
Israelis in the past eight years.
4. Armaments employed by the IDF comply both with international law and with its usage by Western armies.
5. The IDF never intentionally targeted
civilians. The witnesses providing the descriptions appearing in the
report are interested parties and under Hamas pressure, as has been
documented by many independent investigations in the international
Hamas controls the Gaza Strip and employs terror against its
own citizens, thus rendering their testimony unreliable.
6. The international community has accepted the
fact that Hamas was solely responsible for the military confrontation,
but the Amnesty report is dedicated almost exclusively to the censure
7. The comparison of the supply of weapons to
Israel and the Hamas is inappropriate. Israel is a sovereign nation
that is obligated to use force to protect its citizens, while Hamas is
a terror organization. Can a comparison be made between the weapons
used by Al-Qaeda to those used by NATO forces?
8. Amnesty presumes to determine which
individuals participated in combat. The organization has neither the
means nor the capability to determine this.
9. Amnesty chose not to mention that Hamas is
supported by foreign extremists in its struggle against the legal and
recognized government of the Palestinian Authority.
10. The term "proportionality" has meanings that
are defined in international law, and Amnesty makes erroneous and
misleading use of this term.