Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu to Ban: We Avoid Hitting Innocents, They Don't

Netanyahu: I'm not sure there's another military that goes to such great lengths to keep innocents out of harm's way.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/21/2012, 3:13 AM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday evening with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon.

The two made statements to the press, and Netanyahu stressed that while Israel always makes sure to avoid hitting civilian casualties when attacking Gaza, Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorists deliberately fire at innocent civilians in southern Israel.

“I know you're very concerned about the civilian casualties on both sides. Well, we share your concern, and that is why, in fighting terror, our military always tries to avoid civilian casualties,” Netanyahu told Ban. “In fact, I'm not sure that there is another military on Earth that goes to such great lengths to keep innocents out of harm's way. Israel is, I think, remarkable in that, when you consider the conditions that we're facing, I think that something almost without parallel in history is taking place. We're conducting these surgical operations against at a time when our own population is being bombarded by rockets.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Secretary,” added Netanyahu, “Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, and the other terrorist groups, do not share your concern about our civilian casualties or about civilian casualties at all. They're deliberately and indiscriminately targeting our civilians and they deliberately hide behind their civilians. The terrorists target our children and they use their own children as human shields. They place explosives, weapons, other destructive weapons of any kind in schools, mosques, hospitals, universities. Targeting civilians and hiding behind civilians, as you well know is a double war crime. If we hope to make these tactics illegitimate, they should be condemned in the most forceful terms by all responsible members of the international community. The moment we draw symmetry between the victims of terror and the unintended casualties that result from legitimate military action against the terrorists, the minute that false symmetry is drawn, the terrorists win.

“I know, Mr. Secretary, that you understand this, and I am confident, as always, that you will continue to lend your moral authority to the struggle against terrorism,” said Netanyahu. “Mr. Secretary, no country would tolerate rocket attacks against its cities and against its civilians.  Israel cannot tolerate such attacks. If a long-term solution can be put in place through diplomatic means, than Israel would be a willing partner to such a solution. But if stronger military action proves necessary to stop the constant barrage of rockets, Israel will not hesitate to do what is necessary to defend our people.”