A new Israeli Foreign Ministry report on last summer’s Operation Protective Edge found that nearly half (44 percent) of the 2,125 Palestinians killed were confirmed to have been armed members of Hamas or other terrorist organizations.
The 277-page report, titled “The 2014 Gaza Conflict: Factual and Legal Aspects” and published Monday, was formulated by a team of experts from Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office, Foreign Ministry, Justice Ministry, and Military Advocate General’s office.
The findings were released ahead of a United Nations Human Rights Council report on the Gaza war. The U.N. report is scheduled to be published this week and is expected to be disproportionately critical of Israel.
The Israeli report found that Hamas intentionally and strategically attacked from within civilian areas and used civilians as shields for military targets, thus committing war crimes.
“Hamas training and doctrinal materials found by IDF forces during the operation attest to Hamas’s intentional efforts to draw the IDF into combat in densely populated areas and to actively use the civilian population in order to obstruct the IDF’s military operations,” the report states.
In contrast to Hamas’s civilian shield strategy, the Israeli military made every effort to ensure compliance with international law and regularly went beyond its legal obligations in order to protect civilian life, according to the report.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that “anyone who wants to know the truth will read [Israel’s] report… Those who want to continue the baseless accusations can waste their time reading the U.N. report.”