Israel will issue a report on Sunday arguing its 2014 Gaza attack was lawful, a move aimed at pre-empting the release of findings of a U.N. war crimes investigation that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed as a waste of time, Reuters reports.
Israel’s two-month attack last year, which included heavy shelling and air strikes into the densely populated enclave, killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians.
Sixty-seven Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel died.
“Whoever wants to know the truth, let them read this report,” Netanyahu, accusing Hamas of hiding behind non-combatants by deliberately operating in crowded Palestinian neighborhoods, told his cabinet in remarks made public.
“Whoever wants to continue with baseless blaming of the state of Israel, let them waste time reading the report by the U.N. commission. We, for our part, will continue protecting our soldiers. They will continue protecting us.”
The inquiry by the U.N. Human Rights Council into possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas is due to publish its findings this month, having postponed the release from March to consider further evidence.
Israel says it did everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. Israel’s critics accuse it of using excessive force and acting with impunity.
In March, Makarim Wibisono, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian territories, told Reuters the disparity in casualty figures on the two sides “reflects the (skewed) balance of power and the disproportionate cost borne by Palestinian civilians, raising questions as to whether Israel adhered to the international law principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions.”