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10 Dec, 2014 04:38

‘Amnesty are victims of Hamas propaganda’ – Israeli FM spokesman

‘Amnesty are victims of Hamas propaganda’ – Israeli FM spokesman

Israel assumes that Amnesty International has fallen into a trap of the radical Palestinian organization Hamas, the deputy spokesman for Israel's Foreign Affairs Ministry, Alon Melchior, told RT, rejecting the rights group’s report on Gaza bombings.

Amnesty International published a report on Tuesday outlining the destruction of four multi-story landmark buildings in Gaza during the last days of Operation Protective Edge and the effect it had on the civilian population.

READ MORE: ‘War crime’: Amnesty Intl says IDF destroyed Gaza blocks as ‘collective punishment’

“While no one was killed, the attacks are of great significance because they are examples of what appears to have been [the] deliberate destruction and targeting of civilian buildings and property on a large scale, carried out without military necessity,” Amnesty’s report said.

RT asked Melchior to comment on the report and the bombings mentioned there.

RT:Were these particular attacks militarily justified?

Alon Melchior: This report by Amnesty – we actually think they fell into a plot organized by Hamas – they are victims of the Hamas propaganda.

RT:Why would you say they have been drawn into a plot? Amnesty International are extremely well known, they’re supposedly fair and unbiased – why would they fall into a plot from Hamas? Do you really believe that to be the case?

AM: We know for a fact that all the evidence in the report is based on false evidence – no one can question those testimonies over there, no one can check their credibility. There is only one actually true evidence that we agree on; that no one – no one – was killed during those attacks that were checked.

Watch Amnesty International‘s response to Melchior's statements on RT.

RT:Are you accusing Amnesty of lying?

AM: No, we are not doing that – we are not accusing them of lying. We think that this document, this report, is wrong, is false – and we think probably they fell into a plot organized by Hamas, and we reject this report.

RT:If you did believe that one of these buildings did contain a control center for Hamas, then why were four buildings involved here with so much destruction?

AM: As they say, those buildings were used for Hamas as terrorist bases – as military bases – launching terrorist attacks into Israel. So what should Israel do about that?

Palestinians stand on what witnesses say was a house destroyed by an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

RT:Amnesty said that you have provided no information as to why they destroyed the four buildings. But the belief is, I think, that at the time you said that part of it was a control center for Hamas.

AM: We know for sure that those buildings were used [by] Hamas as military bases. Now, for sure – of course – we have our sources. We cannot reveal those intelligence sources because we are compromising people there who face Hamas, who are trying to avoid the casualties within the civilian Palestinians. Now, the question is why Hamas is using those civilian buildings as terrorist bases – that’s what Amnesty should ask; [it] should investigate why Hamas is using the Palestinian people as human shields.

RT:If you look at casualties, on the Israeli side, 67 soldiers, 6 civilians were killed. On the Palestinian side – 2189 Palestinians dead, including more than 1,486 civilians. Talking about wanting to protect life and keep civilian casualties to a minimum – you pretty much failed there, didn’t you?

AM: Again – I said no casualties, I mean in this report that they mention. But of course, this situation in Gaza is awful – we will be the first ones to say that. We think that the Palestinians – and also of course Israel and the Israelis – should deserve a better future, and we hope for the future [that] we don’t need to be in this situation again, where civilians are getting hurt. But we need to see what the origins are. I don’t want to see my kids growing up and having the need to fight for their security. I don’t want to see Palestinian kids also do that. We do want Amnesty to check why Hamas is using Palestinians as human shields.

The UN has launched an investigation into possible war crimes committed by both sides earlier this year. Israel has not chosen to take part in that – why?

AM: Israel actually has a long history of participating in those investigations; if those investigations are clearly sincere, are clearly coming with good intentions to check the events – not to have political insights there from the beginning.

RT:So you don’t trust the UN either?

AM: With the UN committee that you are talking about – I think that in the first place people have said what they said, so Israel decided not to participate in this game, which is political, and not a real investigation. If it’s a real one, we will participate in it.

RT:Palestine has been granted official observer status at the International Criminal Court. Should it decide that it wants to precede with war crimes charges against Israel – what would the ramifications be?

AM: If there will be charges that anyone can prove, Israel will cooperate with that. Israel is investigating itself. And the military – the IDF – is investigating soldiers in Israel, if it thinks that maybe there is a chance that there were accidents or civilians were getting hurt where they didn’t have to. It’s a war, and in the war you sometimes have incidents you don’t want and there is not [the] intention of having them. And sometimes you still have them – and we are investigating.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.