Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the United States, unequivocally rejected the State Department spokeswoman’s condemnation of a “disgraceful” Israeli strike on a U.N. school, claiming she “just [doesn't] know all the facts” and accusing her of a “rush to judgment.”
Dermer reacted furiously to the State Department accusation while speaking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It was a rush to judgment,” he charged. “You just don’t know all the facts. This has happened a number of times, where people say certain things about Israeli actions without actually knowing all the facts. And this is another one of those cases.”
“In the same statement it was said that we shelled that facility,” he continued. “Obviously we didn’t shell the facility. We didn’t actually hit the facility at all. This was a targeted airstrike against three Islamic Jihad terrorists that were on a motorcycle.”
Dermer added that the Israeli Defense Force is investigating why civilian casualties occurred, but that it was a targeted strike not meant to hit the school.
“I just saw your interview with the U.N. official that came before,” the ambassador said angrily. “I didn’t hear him mention that 3 U.N. schools were used actually to house and store rockets.”
“But we don’t target U.N. facilities,” Dermer said. “We face an enemy, unfortunately, that both targets our civilians and embeds itself next to hospitals, schools and mosques.”
“In this case, this was a targeted strike,” he asserted. “I’m not sure that Israel was the one that killed the civilians around it, but that’s something we’re investigated.”
Still surprised at the idea that the State Department would condemn an Israeli action as “disgraceful,” Blitzer asked Dermer if he’d field any official protest.
“I haven’t spoken to that,” he replied.
“But she used the word ‘disgraceful,’” Blitzer said. “That was cleared by the highest levels of the State Department.”
“She does not know all the facts,” Dermer repeated. “And when she knows all the facts, maybe she’ll make a different statement.”
The ambassador also stressed the importance of independently verifying casualties, noting that Hamas is in control of the dead and wounded count.
“People are now putting out these statistics, 80-85 percent are civilians. That’s false,” he said, claiming it’s “based on statistics that the Hamas health official is giving them.”
Dermer noted that during the last Gaza operation, initial reports had claimed two-thirds of casualties were civilians, when in fact two-thirds were later proven to be fighters.
The Israeli government claims they are killing one civilian for every one Hamas fighter — “which in urban warfare is unprecedented,” the ambassador asserted.