JERUSALEM (JTA) — Amnesty International was manipulated by Hamas in its report that accused Israel of committing war crimes during its Gaza military operation, the Israeli army said.
"We find it both questionable and objectionable that a well-respected and ostensibly objective international organization such as Amnesty could produce a report on Operation Cast Lead without properly recognizing the unbearable reality of nine years of incessant and indiscriminate rocket fire on the citizens of Israel," read a statement released from the office of the spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces. "The slant of their report indicates that the organization succumbed to the manipulations of the Hamas terror organization."
The report released Thursday accused Israeli military forces of using civilians, including children, as human shields and conducting random attacks on civilians during the operation in December and January.
The IDF spokesman said that "the IDF utilized various fighting methods and advanced technology to minimize harm to the civilian population, while engaging terrorists who were operating from densely populated areas and using the local population as a human shield.” It noted that the IDF allowed for a daily humanitarian cease-fire to allow food and medical supplies to enter the coastal strip.
Amnesty International in its report said it did not find any evidence that Hamas used civilians as human shields. But in a small section of the 117-page report, it said that the rocket attacks from Gaza against Israel "constitute war crimes."