JERUSALEM — Israeli officials issued a broad defense Sunday over how their country waged the war in the Gaza Strip last summer, making a case that Israel sought to minimize civilian casualties as the Islamist movement Hamas put its people in the line of fire and cynically used the ensuing death and destruction to stoke anti-Israel propaganda.
The Israeli report is timed to preempt what officials here assume is the imminent release of a critical report by the U.N. Human Rights Council on possible criminal acts by Israel and Hamas in the Gaza war.
Israel has declined to cooperate with the U.N. fact-finding mission, citing what it calls prejudicial resolutions by the U.N. council and its experience with a previous U.N. investigation into Israel’s military during the 2008-2009 Gaza war. That report was chaired by the South African jurist Richard Goldstone, who in 2011 withdrew a sensational charge contained in his report — that it was Israel’s policy to intentionally target civilians.
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