Testimony of Major-General Michael D.
Chief of Staff, U.S. Central Command
responding to the UN Inquiry on Gaza 29 June 2015
My name is Mike Jones, a retired U.S. Army general officer who,
with four other retired U.S. generals, conducted a JINSA-sponsored, but
independent, study of the 2014 Gaza conflict. We conducted research, and
interviewed Israeli, UN, and Palestinian Authority officials. Our focus was what
the U.S. should learn from the conflict, but our report is relevant to the
I am pleased your report acknowledged that all combatants are
required to abide by the law, and that Hamas’ and other groups’ indiscriminate
rocket fire at Israel was unlawful.
However, it is disappointing that the
report fails to condemn these groups for unlawfully failing to distinguish
themselves as combatants, as well as purposefully co-locating amongst civilians,
knowingly placing them at risk, with absolutely no military necessity to do
I am also disappointed that the report, while acknowledging that
lawful targeting is a balance between the military necessity and the known risk
to civilians, came to conclusions without sufficient information to make a
judgment. Specifically, they condemn the IDF for engagements without any
information on the IDF’s objectives, military necessity, or known information on
Our team did have access to much of that information. We concluded
that the IDF consistently applied lawful criteria in their targeting.
Conversely, we concluded that based on verifiable information on the launch
sites, weapons and ammunition storage, command locations, and the trajectories
of fired weapons, that Hamas habitually violated the law by attacking civilian
targets with no military value, and deliberately placing Gazans at risk without
It is also disappointing that none of the Commissioners had
military experience, nor did they use the studies that we and other military
professionals who do have experience in conducting lawful combat operations have
Thank you Mr. President.
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