Israel affirms its right to self –defense against Hamas militants

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Human Rights Council.UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

Israel says it will not renege on its determination to defend itself against rocket attacks fired by Hamas militants from Gaza.

Israel's Ambassador in Geneva Eviatar Manor told the UN Human Rights Council that his government would not be doing its duty to protect its citizens had it not launched its latest military offensive into Gaza.

He said Israel had agreed to an Egyptian brokered cease-fire that was to begin on July 15, but which was rejected by Hamas.

Ambassador Manor said the Israeli defence forces were making efforts to minimize civilian casualties but accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields.

"Israel will destroy Hamas’ military infrastructure. However, the Gaza residents are not our enemies. Israel is fully committed to international law. Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets and missiles indiscriminately at Israeli towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with civilian residents of Gaza. In line with the requirements of international law, IDF actions in Gaza are targeted solely against military targets. Hamas bears the responsibility for the injuries sustained by Gaza residents. Israel deeply regrets any civilian losses caused by its operation and has already started investigating itself."

Ambassador Manor said the Human rights council special session on the situation in Gaza was "misguided, ill-conceived and counter-productive to efforts being made to end the hostilities".

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration 1’30″

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