Israel defends IDF action in Gaza war

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel issued a 160-page document justifying its military offensive in Gaza.

The report, published on Thursday and entitled "The Operation in Gaza – Legal and Factual Aspects," asserts that Israel had a right to undertake Operation Cast Lead last December and January following "incessant rocket and mortar attacks upon thousands of Israeli civilians and (Hamas’) other acts of terrorism." Hamas violated international law, says the report, which also documents Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians and the ways in which Hamas put Palestinian civilians in danger.

The report also "gives previously unpublished details of the multiple IDF investigations into allegations made by various groups that violations of the law were committed." It sets forth the preliminary findings of some of the IDF field investigations, including those related to firing on U.N. facilities and medical facilities, the use of white phosphorous, and destruction of private property by IDF ground forces.

The report comes just days before the scheduled release of two United Nations reports on the Gaza war that are expected to be harshly critical of Israel. Some of the findings in the IDF report are only provisional, since the IDF is still conducting field and criminal investigations into some of the allegations.

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