February 6, 2010 - 1:00am

Hamas said Saturday that it did not regret the death of Israeli civilians by rockets militants fired from the Gaza Strip during Israel's military operation against the coastal strip.

"There has been no regret or apology, on the contrary, we held the Israeli occupation responsible for the crimes committed during the war," said Mohammed al-Ghoul, minister of justice of the deposed Hamas government.

In its response to a UN-led fact-finding mission into Israel's three-week offensive in Gaza that ended in January 2009, Hamas said "we feel sorry for what might happened to any Israeli civilian and hope that the Israeli civilians will understand that the continual targeting of us by their government is the starting point and the rockets are a poor reaction."

But al-Ghoul argued that "the government put a clear point in its response. We said the claim that Israeli civilians were harmed needs evidence and the (Israeli) occupation refused to form a committee to probe this claim," said al-Ghoul.

The implicit apology appeared in the 52-page response which Hamas government handed on Wednesday to a UN office in Gaza. The questions and recommendations on Hamas were raised by South African Judge Richard Goldstone who led the team investigating violations during the fighting.

Goldstone Report found Israel had committed war crimes and considered the rocket attacks by Palestinian militants, in which Israeli civilians were killed, also war crimes.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017