White House: Israel Has Right to Self-Defense

White House reaffirms Israel’s right to self-defense after UN report on Gaza, adds it awaits "further outcomes" of Israel's investigation.

Elad Benari ,

White House spokesman Josh Earnest
White House spokesman Josh Earnest

The White House on Monday night reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense, following the release of the UN report which accused the Jewish state of committing war crimes during last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

At the same time, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the administration in Washington was also awaiting "further outcomes" of Israel's own investigation into the war.

He noted that during the Gaza war the United States had backed Israel's "right to self-defense" while at the same time “expressed deep concern about the civilians in Gaza that were in harm’s way. And we urged all parties to do everything they could to protect innocent civilians who were essentially caught in the crossfire of this conflict.”

Earlier on Monday, State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Washington had just received the report “so we’re not in any position to make a comment or pass any judgment on it.”

He added, however, “As we have made clear in the past, our concerns about the mechanism of using the Commission of Inquiry on this and the bias against Israel that is imparted in that mechanism. So we’ve been very clear from the get-go that we have concerns over the mechanism itself, and again, we just got the report. Not in a position to comment.”

The report decried "unprecedented" devastation and human suffering in the terrorist enclave under Hamas control, during the terror group's third attempt to wipe out Israel from Gaza, in 2014.

The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced it had gathered "substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups."

"The extent of the devastation and human suffering in Gaza was unprecedented and will impact generations to come," the chair of the commission, New York judge Mary McGowan Davis who was part of the infamous Goldstone Report, said in a statement.

The UN probe was originally headed by Canadian lawyer William Schabas, who was appointed despite having a long history of anti-Israel invective.

He stepped down from the investigation after it was revealed he had done contract work with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) terror group.

In a report of its own released last Sunday, Israel defended its conduct in last summer's war against the Hamas terrorist group, detailing how its actions were fully in compliance with international law.