NEW YORK, April 7, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC today acknowledged the correction by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT, of his statement that "over 10,000 innocent people were killed in Gaza" in 2014. At the same time, it called on the Senator to clarify his charge that Israel's self-defensive response to deadly Hamas rocket fire and tunnel attacks that summer was "indiscriminate."
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has reported that 2,104 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 war; Israeli authorities estimate that some 1,000 of those killed in its defensive operations were terrorists, while the UN figure is 642. The candidate offered his correction in a phone conversation with Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt, the organization reported.
Senator Sanders made his comments about Israel in an April 1 interview with the editorial board of The New York Daily News.
"Senator Sanders, in repeatedly calling Israel's actions in Gaza 'indiscriminate,' has leveled a serious charge against Israel," said AJC CEO David Harris. "This accusation flies in the face of everything we know – and military leaders around the world have testified – about Israel's extraordinary care in fighting terrorists embedded in civilian populations.
"In Gaza in the summer of 2014, the use by Hamas of residential areas, schools, mosques and hospitals to store and deploy weapons, and launch thousands of terrorist attacks against Israel – wave after wave of rockets and mortars fired against Israeli civilians – made Israel's response excruciatingly challenging. Indeed, the harsh reality is that, because of the terrorists' use of the Palestinian population as human shields, innocent lives were lost.
"But Israel's response was anything but indiscriminate. It repeatedly warned the Palestinian population about imminent strikes. It incurred casualties among its own forces in exercising care to avoid harming civilians. Time and again, it called off strikes when civilians came into view. And, in the fog of war, when soldiers and officers made tragic misjudgments, the IDF command responded appropriately.
"We look forward to Senator Sanders' clarification of this stinging and unjust accusation against Israel."
AJC is a 501(c)(3) organization that neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee