On ABC Australia’s The World Today, Eleanor Hall interviews retired Australian Major-General Jim Molan about Israel’s conduct during last year’s Gaza war, implying the recently released report on the subject was designed to exonerate Israel.
Listen here. Jim Molan will have none of it.
The study is designed to pre-empt a soon to be released United Nations Human Rights Council investigation and is funded by a pro-Israel lobby group.
One of the contributors to the report is the retired Australian Major-General Jim Molan.
Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill spoke to Mr Molan earlier.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: The conclusion your delegation drew was that Israel had met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict.
JIM MOLAN: And in fact our conclusion was that they exceeded it quite dramatically.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: How did they exceed it dramatically?
JIM MOLAN: By the fact that they held off for as long as they could in the face of provocation, that represented war crimes in my view.
Israel’s air attacks were carefully planned and executed.
We’ve all seen reports about the amount of messaging they do, the amount of ringing to make sure civilians are out of the way.
As someone who has practically applied the laws of armed conflict in modern warfare, I was very impressed.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: During last year’s war, approximately 2,100 Palestinians were killed, of which the UN estimates 69 per cent were civilians.
That does seem to be quite a high rate of civilian casualties, doesn’t it?
JIM MOLAN: I don’t understand why you say it’s a high rate.
It’s a high rate compared to what?
Every individual is a tragedy.
I’m just not sure what you’re saying that it’s a high rate to?
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Would you be happy, as a major-general commanding a war that, of the casualties killed, 69 per cent were civilians?
JIM MOLAN: Ah, well it is alleged that they are civilians.
Every indication is that the figure 2,000, given the power of the Israelis, could have been massively higher but by restraint it wasn’t.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: This report comes days after Israel cleared itself of wrong doing over the deaths of four children after a beach in Gaza was shelled during the war last year, did your delegation look into that particular incident?
JIM MOLAN: We did look into that tragic incident in some great detail, and I would implore every single one of your readers not to accept the headline that Israel clears itself but to read the report.
Israel investigated this, admitted that the kids had died, admitted that the tragedy occurred, but there are mitigating circumstances.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Was your delegation able to go into Gaza?
JIM MOLAN: No, but we would love to.
If the Gazans, if Hamas would have us down there, we’d love to do a report on Hamas.
SOPHIE MCNEILL: Do you think you can accurately conduct an investigation like this if you don’t go to the scene of where this war happened?
JIM MOLAN: We did. We went down to Gaza and we looked into Gaza from the Israeli side.
If Hamas would like us to come in and do a similar investigation, I’d be there in a minute.
ELEANOR HALL: That’s retired army Major-General Jim Molan, speaking to Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill.