Jerusalem Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday vowed never to allow Israeli leaders or soldiers to stand trial on war crimes charges over their actions during last winter’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip, furiously denouncing a U.N. report in a keynote address to parliament.
Netanyahu’s fiery rhetoric — and his decision to open the high-profile speech with remarks on the report — reflected the deep distress felt among Israeli leaders after a U.N. commission accused Israel of intentionally harming civilians when it launched a massive attack in Gaza to stop years of rocket fire.
The U.N. report, compiled by a team led by former war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone, accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity. It specifically accused Israel of using disproportionate force, deliberately targeting civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, and using people as human shields. It accused Hamas of deliberately targeting civilians and trying to spread terror through its rocket attacks.