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January 16, 2015 11:52 am

Southern Israeli Official Assures Residents He is Defending IDF Against UN Probe

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Israeli soldiers. Photo: Twitter.

JNS.orgHaim Yalin, the head of southern Israel’s Eshkol Regional Council, sent a letter to residents of Gaza-border communities which assures them that he defended Israel Defense Forces soldiers against a United Nations war crimes probe this week and that he would continue to do so.

Yalin traveled to Geneva as part of an unofficial delegation of seven Israelis testifying before the Schabas Commission—the U.N. Human Rights Council committee that was set up to investigate Israel’s actions during Operation Protective Edge. The commission is not currently investigating the actions of the Hamas terrorist group during the conflict.

The delegation was the initiative of Jewish organizations, rather than the Israeli government, which has refused to cooperate with the U.N. probe due to the committee’s suspected anti-Israel bias. Canadian professor William Schabas, the head of the investigation, is known for his past anti-Israel statements—including comments implying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be brought before an international tribunal for war crimes.

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“I traveled with a delegation to testify before a committee in Geneva to defend IDF soldiers, to defend the best of our young men, who were absolutely not taught to kill,” Yalin wrote in his letter, Israel Hayom reported. “They were taught to love their fellow man and to love the land.”

“The soldiers fought in the operation to protect their parents, their siblings, their friends, and their nation,” he wrote. “They did not go into the Gaza Strip to kill, but rather to neutralize the terror tunnels [from Gaza] that reached into Israeli territory.”

Yalin said he was approached “by the World Jewish Congress and the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists to back up the testimony given by residents [of southern Israel] and officials about the conflict.”

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