Hamas Rejects Charges in UN Report, Salutes Condemnation of Israel

Palestinian militant criticizes report on war in Gaza last summer for 'false balance between victims and killers.'

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Smoke trailing rockets fired from Gaza at Israel in July 2014.Credit: Reuters

Hamas saluted the "condemnation" of Israel in a United Nations report that found Israel may have committed war crimes in last summer's war, but rejected similar allegations against it leveled by the same report.

"Hamas welcomes the report's condemnation of the Zionist occupier for its war crimes during the last war against Gaza," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum said Monday, AFP reported.

However, senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad said Monday that its rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli military sites, not at civilians.

Hamad criticized the UN investigators for what he said was a false balance between victims and killers.

The report found that both Israel and Palestinian militant groups may have committed war crimes during the conflict last July.

More than 2,200 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, were killed during the fighting, according to UN and Palestinian officials, while 73 people, including six civilians, died on the Israeli side.

PLO Executive Committee member Saeb Erekat said in response to the release of the report that the Palestinians will review its findings and recommendations "with the highest consideration."

Erekat also urged the international community "to recall that the only true path to peace lies in ending the Israeli occupation that began in 1967, and in ending crime and the impunity with which it continues to be perpetrated against our people."

Israeli officials also responded to the report on Monday, calling it "biased" and saying it has "blood on its hand for allowing the murder of Jews."