Amnesty International complains about the situation it helped create
Amnesty International complains about the situation it helped create

Amnesty International has issued a statement demanding the release of Ms. Hajar Harb, a Palestinian journalist imprisoned by Hamas. Or to put it another way: Amnesty International is complaining about a situation that it helped to create.

Back in the mid-1970s —almost 50 years ago! — Amnesty International joined the international leftwing crusade against Israel, and it hasn’t let up since. Employing its arsenal of reports, press releases, delegations and the like, Amnesty has promoted the Palestinian cause in the guise of fighting for human rights. Most often this involves pretending that young Palestinian terrorists are innocent children, and then denouncing Israel for allegedly mistreating them.

Israelis are a pretty tough bunch, but everybody’s human. The constant barrage of criticism and pressure from the international news media and foreign governments—pressure that was incited and exacerbated in no small part by groups such as Amnesty International—undermined Israeli leaders’ morale, weakened the public’s resolve, and eventually helped bring about the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2006.

Of course, Amnesty and its fellow Israel-bashers were delighted by the Israeli surrender of Gaza. The critics had been claiming for years that Israel’s “occupation” of the Palestinians was the whole problem. They insisted that once Israel pulled out of Gaza, everything would be fine.

“The Palestinian Arabs, after all, are basically just like us,” Amnesty et al insisted. “Palestinian moms and dads just want what’s best for their kids.” Give them their own state and they’ll be happy and peaceful. Without the “occupation,” they will build a tolerant, peaceful, democratic society. Just like ours.

The Israelis were skeptical. They knew the odds of a genuinely democratic society arising in the Arab Muslim world was about as likely as winning the lottery. But they were exhausted. So, they decided to take a chance. They left Gaza. Hamas took over. The Palestinians finally had their state.

Surprise! Hamas turned out to be the cruel fascist dictatorship that the Israelis always warned about. Elections are non-existent. Political dissidents are tortured. Women are third-class citizens. And journalists like Hajar Harb are thrown into prison. 

Thus, leaving Amnesty International to churn out anguished press releases, all the while never acknowledging the role that Amnesty itself played in badgering Israel to get out of Gaza. But that’s not a surprise either, I suppose. After all, when was the last time any critic of Israel ever publicly acknowledged ever having been wrong about anything?

Amnesty’s press release about Ms. Harb concludes with three fascinating paragraphs about the mistreatment of journalists in the Palestinian Authority-controlled territories. For some odd reason, Amnesty does not call the PA by its name, but instead vaguely refers to “the Palestinian authorities.” Perhaps that’s yet another illustration of Amnesty’s reflexive habit of trying to avoid making the PA look bad.

Whatever the reason for Amnesty’s strange wording, the more important point is this. The “Palestinian authorities” in those areas “have used threats and intimidation against activists and journalists to suppress peaceful expression, including reporting and criticism,” Amnesty notes. 

Those “authorities” were “responsible for 77 attacks on media freedom during the year,” according to Amnesty. “These included arbitrary arrests, ill-treatment during interrogation, confiscation of equipment, physical assaults and bans on reporting.” That’s more than twice as many as the 37 such attacks which Amnesty says Hamas committed during the same period.

See where this is headed?  Amnesty spent years badgering Israel until the combination of various types of international pressure brought about a Palestinian regime in Gaza, which turns out to be a violent dictatorship. Now Amnesty is trying to duplicate that catastrophe in Judea-Samaria.

Amnesty International and other leftwing critics of Israel want the Palestinian Authority to become a full-fledged state. They want the Israelis to vacate all of those territories and allow the PA complete sovereignty—even though they admit that the PA is carrying out twice as many attacks on journalists as Hamas!

Well, we can’t say we weren’t warned. We know how Gaza turned out. Do we want to see the same thing in Judea-Samaria? Do we think having a violent fascist dictatorship next door would be helpful to Israel?

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. His book, “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror,” has just been published.