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Amnesty International Slams Israel; IDF Blasts Report

Amnesty International condemns Israel for its treatment of PA Arabs. In contrast, the report only briefly notes atrocities performed by Hamas.
By Avraham Zuroff
First Publish: 7/2/2009, 8:00 AM

Flash 90

Amnesty International’s annual report condemns Israel for its treatment of Palestinian Authority Arabs while only briefly noting atrocities attributed to the Hamas terrorist organization. Both the IDF and a watchdog on fair media research called the report findings biased and unethical.

Amnesty International issued Thursday its annual report, condemning Israel and PA Arabs for disproportional violence during Operation Cast Lead. The human rights watchdog blames Israel for killing over 1,400 PA Arabs in Gaza and wounding 5,000 others. The report blames the IDF for repeatedly breaching the laws of war by “by carrying out direct attacks on civilians and civilian buildings and attacks targeting Palestinian militants that caused a disproportionate toll among civilians.” The report also criticizes Israel for demolishing PA homes without permits and for erecting security barriers and army checkpoints.

The IDF called Amnesty International’s annual report one-sided and questions how Amnesty neglected to mention “the unbearable suffering of Israeli citizens from constant rocket attacks during the last eight years. It seems that it has fallen as a victim of manipulation of the Hamas terror organization.” The IDF furthermore criticized the report for being unbalanced and blasted Amnesty’s failure to mention the suffering endured by Israeli civilians and Israel’s security needs. “The report presents a distorted interpretation of the rules of fighting that don’t fit the rules enacted by democratic countries fighting against terror,” the IDF added.

The military noted that the report also ignored the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties. During Operation Cast Lead, the IDF spared no expense to use advanced weaponry with pin-point accuracy to spare civilian casualties despite the Hamas terrorist organization’s firing Kassam rockets on Israeli towns and cities, often attacking from within civilian areas.

NGO Monitor: Amnesty Report Unethical
Prof. Gerald Steinberg, executive director of NGO Monitor, called Amnesty International’s report on Israel unethical and lacking research standards. Prof. Steinberg stated in a press release, "Amnesty's latest publication is further evidence of their obsessive attempts to condemn and isolate Israel. The lack of expertise and the façade of research are reflected by the effort to erase evidence of the massive use of human shields by Hamas and its aggression.”

NGO Monitor’s stated aim is to analyze and challenge interpretations of human rights organizations and to end the promotion of political and ideologically-motivated anti-Israel campaigns.

In an interview with Voice of Israel government radio, Steinberg said, “Who is Amnesty? They aren’t researchers. They are political. They don’t live here. Almost all of the reports are hearsay from Palestinian sources. All of this is a game. There is no ethical basis to their research.”

Steinberg feels that although the IDF has made mistakes during its military operations in Gaza, he feels that the report is one-sided. As an example, Hamas’s capture of Gilad Shalit is only referred to in a footnote. “They have lost the ethical conscious. I think that the Amnesty people must resign,” he stated.

The NGO Monitor notes that the report ignores well-documented evidence of Hamas's extensive use of human shields. Despite documented evidence of a gunman grabbing a child as cover, Amnesty found "no evidence that Hamas or other fighters directed the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks."