WHEN the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted last week to condemn Israel for its actions during Operation Protective Edge, it did so despite a high-level military delegation finding that “Israel took extraordinary efforts to avoid civilian casualties” during the conflict.
The group of 11 experts – many with hands-on battlefield experience – included one of the most decorated soldiers to have served in the Australian Defence Force, retired Major-General Jim Molan.
Members of the community will have the chance to hear firsthand from Major-General Molan when he addresses the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD) monthly plenum on July 21.
“Major-General Molan combines battlefield experience with penetrating insights into the world of geopolitics,” JBOD CEO Vic Alhadeff told The AJN.
“He is a highly sought-after commentator and we urge the community to avail itself of this rare opportunity.”
To research their report, Major-General Molan and his colleagues spent a week in Israel meeting with high-ranking politicians, military experts, IDF strategists and soldiers.
Their report considered the war a legitimate conflict that was necessary in order to defend Israel’s borders and civilians. They concluded that it was not a war that Israel sought, and in fact that Israel had tried to avoid entering the war.
Major-General Molan has stated to various media outlets that the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) went to great lengths to operate within the laws of war during the conflict.
He wrote in The Australian: “Israel’s prosecution of Operation Protective Edge not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, it exceeded them significantly, often at cost to Israeli soldiers and citizens.”
In an interview with the ABC, he commended the efforts of the IDF in reducing the number of civilian casualties in Gaza through its air attacks and targeted civilian warnings.
Major-General Molan retired in 2008 after 40 years of service, ranging from command appointments in operations, training, staff and military diplomacy.
He has served in Iraq, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany and the USA.
He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for his part in disaster relief operations and was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for his role in Indonesia and East Timor.
The plenum is in Darlinghurst on Tuesday, July 21. Info: (02) 9360 1600.