IDF Report Refutes Gaza War-Crimes Allegations

YERUSHALAYIM -
IDF Artillery Corps fires a 155 mm M109 howitzer during Operation Protective Edge, July 24, 2014. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)
IDF Artillery Corps fires a 155 mm M109 howitzer on July 24, 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. (IDF Spokesperson Unit)

YERUSHALAYIM – The IDF issued on Wednesday the fifth installment of reports on its investigations into allegations of war crimes in Gaza, stating that in none of the cases cited against the Israeli military in Operation Protective Edge in 2014 was there evidence of wrongdoing.

In a point-by-point analysis, the report refuted each of the allegations. In some instances, the IDF confirmed it had conducted operations in the area in question, but that the targets had been Hamas terrorists; in others, it said it had conducted no operations in the area mentioned.

IDF investigators determined that in four cases where they were accused of killing large numbers of civilians — a total of 49 people in all — the attacks had been in conformity with international law and Israeli military regulations.

Since the 2014 war, 360 complaints were filed against IDF officers, and every one has been examined, according to the military. To date, a criminal investigation was ordered in 24 cases. As a result, charges were pressed against three IDF soldiers for looting or assisting looters. The judicial proceedings are still in progress.

Many files were closed without taking any criminal or disciplinary action, after prosecutors decided there was insufficient grounds. In one case it was decided to take internal army discipline. Other investigations are still in progress.

This latest report addresses an incident that occurred on July 20, 2014, when it was alleged that seven civilians were killed in an attack at al-Bourj. The IDF explained that the target had been a Hamas site and that one Hamas agent and two Hamas senior agents were killed in the strike. It did not mention civilians casualties.

Regarding an attack that allegedly killed 12 from the Chiam family in Rafah, the IDF said that it had no record of launching any attacks in that area at the time, and video footage indicated that. However, it noted that there was evidence that Hamas had fired rockets from the surrounding area at the time.

Allegations that the IDF killed 15 civilians from the Zuarov family on August 1 in Rafah did reveal civilian casualties, though they were unintended. The IDF stated that one senior Hamas official and some other Hamas terrorists were killed. It did admit, however, that civilians were killed accidentally due to faulty intelligence that had indicated there were no civilians in the area.