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Israel PM slams UNHRC criticism of Gaza assualt

Sept. 29, 2014 10:38 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 1, 2014 9:38 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday condemned the UN Human Rights Council for criticizing Israel's actions in Gaza, saying it encouraged militants to use human shields as a war tactic.

Speaking against Israeli attacks on Gaza sends "a message to terrorists everywhere: use children as human shields," Netanyahu said, addressing the UN General Assembly in New York, according to Ynet.

"The UNHRC has betrayed its noble mission to protect the innocent. The Human Rights Council has become the Terrorist Rights Council," he added.

Netanyahu also slammed President Mahmoud Abbas' speech before the Assembly, in which he accused Israeli forces of "genocide" during their 50-day offensive on Gaza.

"We did not deliberately target civilians in Gaza and we regret every civilian casualty," Netanyahu said.

"Our soldiers uphold the highest moral values of any army in the world -- they should be admired not condemned."

He continued by accusing Palestinian militants in Gaza of using civilians as human shields, echoing Israeli army statements made on a near-daily basis during the assault.

Netanyahu also accused the Palestinian faction Hamas of being similar to the Islamic State group that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria.

"Hamas' immediate goal is to destroy Israel but has a wider goal the same as ISIS," he said.

Hamas officials, including senior leader Khaled Meshaal, have repeatedly rejected Netanyahu's comparisons of Hamas to IS, stressing that the Palestinian faction's armed struggle is against the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Israel's seven-week assault on Gaza left nearly 2,200 Palestinians, the vast majority of them civilians, dead and some 11,000 injured.

Meanwhile, Gaza militants killed 73 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
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