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Israel clears itself of war crimes in 2014 Gaza offensive

August 25, 2016 at 4:49 pm

The Israeli military has closed 13 criminal investigations into cases of Israeli soldiers committing violations against Palestinian civilians during the 2014 Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip without imposing any punitive measures, a statement by the Israeli army revealed yesterday.

A further 80 incidents were closed without criminal investigations being opened.

The army received 500 complaints regarding 360 violations committed by its forces during “Operation Protective Edge”, with the Israeli military opening an investigation into 24 cases and so far indicting three Israeli soldiers for crimes involving looting.

One of the cases that was closed without a criminal investigation being opened involved the killings of 15 members of the Zurub family in Rafah on 1 August 2014 following an Israeli airstrike on their home. It was decided that Israeli forces had acted according to “Israeli domestic law and international law requirements,” claiming that the “collateral damage” was proportional to the “military advantage” of striking the building, which it said was reportedly being used as a Hamas command and control centre where alleged senior Hamas military operative Nazmi Zurub was residing.

“The decision to strike was taken by the competent authorities and the attack was aimed at military targets – an active command and control centre of the Hamas terror organisation and the military operatives who were manning it, among them a senior military operative of that organisation,” the statement read.

The shelling of an UN-run school in Rafah, which resulted in at least 10 civilian deaths as Gaza residents sought shelter in the school after losing their homes during the Israeli assault, was also closed without prompting an investigation, as the statement said the Israeli army had observed three alleged Palestinian military operatives riding a motorbike near the school.

According to the statement, the Israeli army decided to carry out the strike after conducting “aerial surveillance on the motorbike’s path,” while surveying “a wide radius of the estimated continued route of the motorbike, in order to minimise the potential for harm to civilians on the route or in proximity thereto.”