Israel upset about harsh UN report

JERUSALEM: Israel is unhappy with a harsh UN report on its war in Gaza and is lobbying to soften the document due to be submitted to the Security Council on Tuesday, Israeli media said.

The report says the Israeli military intentionally fired at UN facilities and civilians hiding in them during the massive offensive in December-January on Hamas in Gaza, media reports said.

"Although the report does not accuse Israel of committing war crimes and does not include a recommendation for legal proceedings... (Israel) views it as a one-sided and even hostile document, as it fails to mention the Hamas terror directed ceaselessly at the civilian population in Israel," said the Ynet news website. UN chief Ban Ki-moon received a copy of the report several days ago and eventually softened some of the wording in the three-page document, which he is due to submit to the Security Council on Tuesday, Ynet wrote.

But Israeli officials are worried that the current wording is still too critical towards the Jewish state, the mass-selling Yediot Aharonot said.

"Officials who saw the report said its authors completely ignored the information that Israel passed on to the UN after Operation Cast Lead," it said.

The newspaper quoted a member of the American delegation at the United Nations as saying that the report was "unprecedented in its gravity towards Israel, and Israel will have to lick the wounds of the report for many years, if the current wording is accepted as is." The report, authored by a special committee headed by the former head of the Amnesty International rights group Ian Martin, contains several serious charges against Israeli forces.

"Israel deliberately fired at UN institutions even though it knew it was forbidden. The report accuses Israel of disproportionate fire and excessive use of force. The report also states that Israel shot at Palestinian civilians unnecessarily and excessively," wrote Yediot.

"It should be noted that the report is worded one-sidedly and includes numerous and grave charges against Israel. On the other hand, the report almost entirely ignores Hamas and the rocket fire at Israeli communities," it wrote.

The report marks the latest criticism of Israel over the 22-day war in Gaza that it launched against the Hamas-run territory on December 27 in response to ongoing rocket fire.

The war, which ended with Israel and Hamas ceasefires on January 18, killed more than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis and left large swathes of the impoverished territory in ruins.