Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Israel news photo

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spelled out war crimes that Hamas committed before, during and after the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in Gaza 10 months ago. In an interview published in the Washington Post on Saturday, he also said that Israel is “looking into” an independent inquiry on the Goldstone report. His spokesmen later clarified that his statement that does not mean that he wants a probe.

The Prime Minister’s office said that the IDF already is probing two-thirds of the allegations against Israel as reported to the United Nations Human Rights Commission by Judge Richard Goldstone. It added that the probe was initiated by Israel for its own needs and not as a reaction to the Goldstone report.

The Prime Minister told the Washington newspaper, “The best way to defuse this issue is to speak the truth because Israel was defending itself with just means against an unjust attack. Serious countries have to think about adapting the laws of war in the age of terrorism and guerrilla warfare. If the terrorists believe they have a license to kill by choosing to kill from behind civilian lines, that's what they'll do again and again. What exactly is Israel supposed to do?”

He spelled out four specific war crimes that Hamas has committed: calling for the destruction of Israel, in contradiction to the U.N. charter, deliberate attacks on civilians, using Arab civilians as human shields and kidnapping IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been denied access to the Red Cross, a violation of the Geneva Convention.

“Who gets accused of criminal behavior at the end of the day? Israel that sent thousands of text messages and made tens of thousands of cellular phone calls to Palestinian civilians to warn them to evacuate,” he said.

Iran, PA and Peres

Prime Minister Netanyahu also said, ”It is too early to say” anything on the apparent deal between Iran and Western countries on curbing development of its nuclear capability. “The issue is not merely the security of Israel but of the world,” he stated.

Concerning the refusal of the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations, he charged that pre-conditions set by the PA, including a freeze on building for Jews in eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria represents an “old technique [of] ‘Let's agree on what the results of the negotiations will be before the negotiations begin.’”

In a separate interview, President Shimon Peres said that the media is mistaken by defining Prime Minister Netanyahu as a “right-winger.” Asked by the Post about the President's remarks, the Prime Minister responded, “I think we do represent a consensus of the Israeli public. The popular explanation is that this conflict is about the territories captured in the 1967 war. So why did the conflict rage [when] there were no settlements? The Arabs fought wars and terror campaigns in the 1920s, '30s and '40s against any Jewish state, and then they rejected the partition. Our presence in the territories is not the cause of the conflict but one of its results.”