(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 media.
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 of Israel.
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.