Gaza school or Hamas haven? (illustration)
Gaza school or Hamas haven? (illustration) Flash 90

Hamas on Friday rejected a report by Amnesty International accusing the group of war crimes during last summer's war with Israel, the Ma’an news agency reported.

Hamas criticized the findings of the group’s report as being unbalanced and adopting "the Israeli version of the story", according Ma'an.

In a statement, the group said that it is the right of Palestinians to defend themselves “against both the ongoing Israeli occupation and Israeli military offenses.”

"War crimes have clear specifications, according to the Rome Statute, that do not in any way apply to the Palestinian resistance, which was, is, and will defend its people," said Hamas.

The report released by Amnesty International on Thursday said that Palestinian rocket fire during the 2014 summer war had killed more civilians inside Gaza than inside Israel.

The report said rocket attacks had killed six civilians inside Israel, including a child, but that other rockets aimed at Israel had fallen short inside Gaza, killing at least 13 civilians, 11 of them children.

The authors note that in certain cases mortars were fired at Israeli military targets, but since mortars are such imprecise weapons, they should never be used to target military bases near civilian areas.

“Indiscriminate attacks that kill or wound civilians constitute a serious violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes,” the report accuses, adding that "Palestinian armed groups must end all direct attacks on civilians."

Hamas, however, took issue with Amnesty's approach to the report, arguing that the rights group relied solely on Israeli information to compile the report, therefore missing a balanced review as Israel did not allow international investigation committees into Gaza.

Hamas said, according to Ma’an, that Amnesty International's report "purposely turned facts around to justify Israel’s crimes against humanity".

A day after Amnesty accused Hamas of war crimes, a Paris-based group, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), claimed on Friday that Israel's counter-terror Operation Protective Edge last summer included "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity."

The war, which began when Hamas launched a massive barrage of rockets on Israeli civilian population centers, "was marked by serious breaches human rights law" on the part of Israel, the group charged.

The IDF revealed during the war how the Gazan terrorists cynically used civilian infrastructure to launch their attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, requiring the IDF to strike those locations while giving countless warnings to reduce civilian casualties.

In spite of the challenges, a detailed study after the war proved 49% of the casualties in Gaza were terrorists, meaning the IDF achieved a 1:1 civilian to combatant ratio almost unprecedented in urban warfare.

The chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, indicated several months ago that Israel went to "extraordinary lengths" to limit civilian casualties in Gaza.

"I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties," Dempsey said at the time.

"In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you're going to be criticized for civilian casualties," he added.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)