CONFIRMED: PM Netanyahu is considering allowing Int’l Criminal Court representatives to come to Israel and the West Bank for a visit, and not for gathering ‘evidence’.
Multiple senior government sources confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Friday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering allowing International Criminal Court representatives to come to Israel and the West Bank.
The trip would be for public relations in order to educate the Israeli public about the ICC and not to gather evidence regarding the 2014 war or the settlements.
The IDF, the UN Human Rights Council, the ICC and others have been investigating war crimes allegations related to the killing of around 2,100 Palestinians – including an unclear number of civilians – during Operation Protective Edge in 2014 war in which 73 people were also killed in Israel.
Rocket fire from Gaza made hundreds of thousands Israelis flee their homes.
On August 24, the army closed four cases of allegations of killing large numbers of Palestinian civilians during the 2014 Gaza war. The decision was issued in the IDF legal division’s fifth report on war crimes probes since Operation Protective Edge ended two years ago.
The report found that, in four cases of allegations of killing large numbers of civilians – adding up to a total of 49 people – the IDF strikes were legal due to either mistakes, Hamas being responsible or an attack not happening at all.
Out of 360 incidents the IDF has reviewed, 31 have led to full criminal investigations, 13 have been closed and one, a case of theft, has led to an indictment.
On July 20, 2014, it was alleged that seven civilians were killed in an attack on a structure in al-Bourj. The IDF explained that the target had been a Hamas site and that one Hamas agent and two Hamas senior agents were killed in the strike.
It did not dispute that the other four persons killed were civilians. Rather, it said that precautions had been taken to limit the collateral damage to civilians and that the military situation under the circumstances validly outweighed the harm to civilians.
Regarding a July 21, 2014, attack that allegedly killed 12 from the Chiam family in Rafah, the IDF said that it had no record of carrying out any attacks in that area at the time.
In addition, the report noted that pictures of the damage allegedly caused by the attack received by investigators did not support the allegations that the IDF was responsible.
Finally, it added that there was evidence Hamas had fired rockets and mortars from the surrounding area at the time, that some of its rockets had misfired and this meant it was possible Hamas had killed the civilians with its own shells or rockets.
Next, there were allegations the IDF had killed 15 civilians from the Zuarov family on August 1 in Rafah.
The IDF said the attack did occur and that one senior Hamas official, Nazmi Zuarov, and some other Hamas agents were killed. It did admit, however, in this case that civilians were killed due to faulty intelligence that indicated there were no civilians in the area.
Based on the intelligence available to the IDF’s attacking forces at the time, which indicated no civilians were present, they could not be prosecuted, said the report.
Further, the IDF legal division decided that commanders had acted correctly in choosing a less powerful explosive than they might have. Also, it added that no warning could be given in this case to potential civilians in the area as that would have allowed the Hamas target to escape.
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