The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded fast and hard Wednesday to “human rights” group Amnesty International's newly released report on this summer's conflict between Israel and the Hamas terror group, saying that it “accuses Israel of wrongdoing while producing no evidence.”
“At the same time, the report ignores documented war crimes perpetrated by Hamas, including the use of human shields, as well as ammunition storage and firing at Israeli civilian population centers from within schools, hospitals, mosques and civilian neighborhoods in Gaza,” said the Ministry.
The report “does not mention the word terror in relation to Hamas or other armed Palestinian groups,” notes the Ministry, nor does it mention tunnels built by Hamas to infiltrate Israel and perpetrate terror attacks. “By ignoring the nature of the enemy Israel faced in Gaza – a terror group recognized as such by the European Union, the United States and others – Amnesty's report fails to contribute to the important discussion needed to solve the conflict,” it added. “Instead, Amnesty serves as a propaganda tool for Hamas and other terror groups.”
In Israel, investigations are currently underway by several bodies, inside and outside the Israel Defense Forces, into over 90 incidents that took place in the course of Operation Protective Edge, said the Ministry. Two criminal investigations are underway. “These measures are dismissed by Amnesty as insufficient yet in comparison to Israel's rigorous procedures, Amnesty's own methodology raises questions: The report was not written by Amnesty staff but by local contractors not mentioned by name and referred to only as 'field workers'. Their own credibility in producing the testimonies detailed in the report is never questioned; independent verification of their claims apparently not deemed necessary.”
“The extreme bias of the report is best displayed in its recommendations,” the Ministry's blistering critique adds: “Hamas is not mentioned, as if the group has no responsibility for the bloodshed; meanwhile, the report dismisses Israel's security challenges. Amnesty should understand that producing a narrow, decontextualized report restricts its capability to advance positive change.”
A facade of ‘research’
Amnesty claimed eight cases in which the IDF attacked homes "without warning," asserting that "at least 104 civilians including 62 children" were killed. The rights group admitted terrorist targets were identified in some cases, but claimed "the devastation to civilian lives... was clearly disproportionate," adding the IDF may have "directly and deliberately targeted civilians or civilian objects, which would constitute war crimes."
NGO Monitor responded to the accusations against Israel, noting the report repeats "the standard accusations of war crimes, including claims that the Israeli military purposefully targeted civilians. The charges will again be made despite Amnesty’s lack of access to military intelligence and other vital decision-making information necessary to support its politicized allegations."
"Amnesty’s claims had no validity when they were first made, without evidence, during the fighting, and they have no more credibility now, despite the facade of ‘research’ and ‘investigations,'" said Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. "For many years, we have shown that Amnesty’s ‘reports’ on Israel lack credibility and are based on double standards that reflect a radical ideological agenda under the facade of universal human rights."