Israel on Monday rejected various human rights condemnations surrounding its offensive against the Hamas terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
A statement issued by Israel's Foreign Ministry stated that Jerusalem "rejects today's (12 January) irrelevant and one-sided resolution of the Human Rights Council" because it ignores:
- "the terrorism being conducted against Israel";
- "Hamas' responsibility for events";
- "the fact that for years Israeli citizens have been exposed to rocket and mortar fire launched by Hamas and other terrorist organizations"; and
- "the use of civilians as human shields by the Hamas terrorist organization, in violation of international law";
The Israeli statement also noted that no democratic countries voted in favor of the resolution, bolstering the argument that the council has become nothing but a tool in the hands of the world's most oppressive regimes.
Furthermore, the Foreign Ministry pointed out that of the nine special sessions the UN Human Rights Council has called since its inception in 2006, five have focused on alleged Israeli violations, while many far more serious human rights situations around the world have been ignored.
On Sunday, the Israeli army responded to a separate charge by the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch that it was using white phosphorous in the artillery shells it is firing into Gaza.
Human Rights Watch, while acknowledging that the use of white phosphorous is not prohibited, accused Israel of purposely putting Palestinian civilians at risk of severe burns by using the incendiary substance over populated areas.
The group later admitted that it had no firm evidence that Israel was using white phosphorous, but insisted that news media photographs of artillery shells exploding over Gaza cities and white smoke falling on the population strongly suggested as much.
The army responded that the photographs had captured the explosion of what it called "quiet shells" - shells containing no explosives or white phosphorous - which were being used to warn civilians to flee the area.