The White House affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense Monday following the release of a UN Human Right’s Council (UNHRC) report accusing Israel and “Palestinian armed groups” of war crimes during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that during the war, the US backed Israel’s “right to self-defense” while expressing its “deep concern about the civilians in Gaza that were in harm’s way. And we urged all parties to do everything they could to protect innocent civilians who were essentially caught in the crossfire of this conflict.”
Earnest said the Obama administration was awaiting “further outcomes” of Israel’s own investigations into the war before taking any further action.
US State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters Monday that Washington had just received the UNHRC report and was there “not in any position to make a comment or pass judgement on it.”
“As we have made clear in the past, our concerns about the mechanism of using the Commission of Inquiry on this and the bias against Israel that is imparted in that mechanism. So we’ve been very clear from the get-go that we have concerns over the mechanism itself, and again, we just got the report. Not in a position to comment,” Kirby added.
The UNHRC report, released Monday, blames Israel and “Palestinian armed groups” of “unprecedented” war crimes. The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict was originally headed by the notorious anti-Israel Canadian lawyer William Schabas, who had to step down from the commission following revelations of PLO ties.
Israel called the report “morally flawed” and said in a statement that the UNHRC was “notoriously biased” towards the Jewish state. Israel refused to cooperate with the UN’s investigation and launched its own inquest into Operation Protective Edge. The report, released earlier this month, showed how Israel complied with international law and concluded that majority of those killed were terrorists.