WASHINGTON: Israeli soldiers should be given the Nobel Peace Prize for the “unimaginable restraint” they are showing in fighting Hamas, Israel’s ambassador to the US has said, backing his country’s right to self-defence.
Ambassador Ron Dermer made the comments at an event hosted by the Christians United for Israel group yesterday, according to a text of the speech posted on his Facebook page.
Comparing Hamas rocket fire on Israel to Germany’s bombardment of London during World War II, Dermer slammed those “shamelessly accusing Israel of genocide and (who) would put us in the dock for war crimes.”
“The truth is that the Israeli Defense Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize... a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.”
Addressing journalists at a separate event, Dermer did not go quite as far, and admitted Israel was “not perfect, we make mistakes.”
“A missile can hit the wrong place. We can have intelligence failures. But we don’t target civilians,” he insisted.
Israel was making “remarkable” efforts, he added, to get civilians to clear an area that was about to be hit including by sending out leaflets, text messages and dummy bombs ahead of the real strike.
“Israel does not target a single Palestinian civilian... when a civilian is killed it’s an operational failure... and a tragedy in and of itself”
The Palestinian death toll in the 15-day war is at 620, most of them civilians, with some 29 Israelis, all but two of them soldiers, also having been killed.
“I think Israel should earn the admiration of the international community for the restraint that it has shown in the face of these threats,” Dermer told a breakfast organized by the Christian Science Monitor.
“Our soldiers are dying so that innocent Palestinians can live. That is what’s happened.”
He also denounced Human Rights Watch for acting as a “kangaroo court” for its criticism of the Israeli action.