The United Nations released a report this morning attacking Israel over Operation Protective Edge. As you may recall last year Israel was under constant fire, with about one rocket being fired into Israel every 15 minutes. This caused Israel to take drastic military action in order to protect her civilians. Also Israeli civilians were restricted from having meetings in areas were rocket fire was the most probable. If a rocket were to be fired civilians had less than 90 seconds to get to the nearest bomb shelter. The Iron Dome was able to intercept most of the rockets that would have hit populated areas (20% of all rockets), but by the end of the conflict IDF was quickly depleting its supply of interceptor rockets, meaning that within a short time the Iron Dome would be ineffective against Hamas fire. Israel had to stop the barrage of rocket fire as well as stop terrorists from sneaking into Israel through Terror Tunnels. These tunnels were used by Hamas to kidnap Israeli civilians or commit acts of violence and then escape undetected back into Gaza. Israeli civilian casualties were limited, 8 civilian deaths.
An Israeli mother relates her son's death in this way;
Then, last Friday, Daniel was killed. All the precautions that we have taken have failed. Daniel, 4.5 years old, was killed in our House, while playing with Yoval in a tent built indoors and not outside, because it’s dangerous. He was killed from a mortar shell that was shot by terrorists from Gaza, he died in our hands. Daniel died in front of his little sister and his best friend Yoval, 3.5 years old; he died in front of Uri, only four months old and right before our eyes, his mother and father.
Hamas has taken away the childhood of many Israeli children, whose parents fear that if they send their child outside they will never see their child alive again. More than anything the tunnels into Israel caused psychological fear. One Israeli stated;
[T]hey found a tunnel outside our Kibbutz.... I can see it from here, it’s a space right near our Kibbutz where we go for picnics.... They just came out of this hole and started walking around.... They have found a way into our homes now and that is scary.... [T]hey are just digging their way up from Gaza into our country and it’s a whole new threat and it's a very scary threat - to walk around your own home and be afraid.
Israel had to respond and destroy the rocket facilities and the terror tunnels before real damage to her population occurred. It is almost as if the UN wished that Israel waited for Hamas' rocket fire to deplete the Iron Dome and have a real murderous affect on Israeli communities. Already the rockets and tunnels were having a severe psychological strain on Israeli citizens.
Israel did not wait, but began blocking shipments of possible terror supplies to Gaza, while letting food into the small country. (Although Israel would have been justified to block all aid to Gaza). Israel began tracing where the rockets were coming from and bombing those areas in order to destroy the rocket launchers. She also began sending ground troops into Gaza to collapse the terror tunnel infrastructure.
Unfortunately Israel found that terrorists do not care about the civilian population, unlike Israel whose only goal was to protect her civilian population, rather Hamas wanted to destroy Israel. Hamas thus masked rocket locations and placed them within densely populated areas. This lead Prime Minister Netanyahu to comment, "Israel uses rockets to protect her civilians, Hamas uses civilians to protect her rockets." Israel did her best to warn civilians of impending bombings. IDF phoned, dropped notes, and attempted various other means of communication with the civilian population. If Israeli troops determined there were no civilians in harms way they would not warn anyone before launching an attack. In response to Israeli efforts Hamas started regulating the travel of civilians within Gaza so that Hamas could show pictures of Gazan citizens killed in Israeli attacks. The United Nations has a short list of targets supposedly hit for non-military purposes, but the UN forgot a major factor - when interviewing terrorists they may lie. Also although the IDF tried to obtain flawless information, often military intelligence is flawed - a problem the UN itself is quite familiar with (remember when the UN said Saddam had WMDs?).
In the UN report's conclusion it condemns Israel for not helping the UN with a report thats sole purposed purpose was to make Israel look bad. Israel released her own report, giving the UN sufficient sources. The UN still condemned Israel stating; "With regard to Israel, the commission examined carefully the circumstances of each case, including the account given by the State, where available. Israel has, however, released insufficient information regarding the specific military objectives of its attacks. The commission recognizes the dilemma that Israel faces in releasing information that would disclose in detail the targets of military strikes, given that such information may be classified and jeopardize intelligence sources. Be that as it may, security considerations do not relieve the authorities of their obligations under international law. The onus remains on Israel to provide sufficient details on its targeting decisions to allow an independent assessment of the legality of the attacks conducted by the Israel Defense Forces and to assist victims in their quest for the truth."
Only in a book written by a fool would Israel have to give up vital information and put her intelligence network at risk in order to help with an investigation into alleged war crimes that can easily be seen to be baseless. Even the United States has refused to work with the United Nations in such circumstances. The bottom line is if Israel is guilty of war crimes, the allies were guilty of many more during World War II, as the allies did not warn potential civilian populations and accidentally killed many civilians.
To read Israel's report click here
To read the UN's report click here