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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Human Rights Watch plays prosecutor, judge and jury

Human Rights Watch, which recently raised money in Saudi Arabia by bragging about how it 'does battle' with 'pro-Israel pressure groups' claims in a report released on Thursday that Israel shot eleven unarmed 'Palestinians' waving white flags in seven different incidents during Operation Cast Lead. For good measure, most of the eleven are claimed to be women and children.
HRW said it conducted extensive investigations into each of these incidents by visiting the attack sites, examining ballistic evidence, collecting medical records, and interviewing multiple witnesses, at least three people separately for each attack. In one case, forensic pathologists examined a survivor.
While that may (and is designed to) sound impressive, I have to wonder how a forensic pathologist would examine a survivor:
Forensic pathologists determine the cause of death by examination of a cadaver. The autopsy is performed by the pathologist at the request of a coroner usually during the investigation of criminal law cases and civil law cases in some jurisdictions. Forensic pathologists are also frequently asked to confirm the identity of a cadaver.
Be that as it may, Professor Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor, who first exposed Human Rights Watch's schnorring (begging) in Saudi Arabia, has other problems with their methodology:
"HRW had no people in Gaza during the war, so therefore everything they have to say is by definition based on hearsay and speculation - it is all based on secondary and tertiary reports," he said.

"A Palestinian says he took a white flag out, and says Israelis shot him. We don't know if that was part of tactics Hamas used, like Hizbullah did in Lebanon. Remember, Hamas used ambulances to smuggle in and launch rockets. HRW doesn't know," Steinberg said.

Steinberg said that all the organization's reports on Gaza were based on what Palestinians said, or what other NGOs reported, or on what some journalists - who for the most part were also not in Gaza during the war - heard about afterward.

"This is a basic methodological problem," he said. "If you are looking for a target, you will find people who will tell you what you are looking for."

Steinberg said that HRW made similar allegations about the IDF firing at people waving white flags after the Second Lebanon War, but that these turned out to be false.

He said that in one instance HRW alleged that there was no Hizbullah presence when the IDF allegedly killed three people, and wounded 14 other people who were waving a white flag while fleeing in a van from the village of Kafra.

"Independent analysis showed that Hizbullah admitted flying white flags to prevent IDF attacks, 17 rockets were fired from within Kafra village houses, and Hizbullah regularly transported arms in vans," he said.
Steinberg goes on to claim that the release of this report - Human Rights Watch's third report on Operation Cast Lead - shows the organization's obsession with Israel.

But then, we knew that already.

I don't believe the report. Human Rights Watch has already done more than enough to show their anti-Israel bias. I don't believe anything they say about us.

The picture at the top was taken at a Gaza City produce market on January 14, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead. It looks like they're starving, doesn't it?


At 4:36 AM, Blogger Ayatollah Ghilmeini said...

There is so much for this report, one almost doesn't know where to begin:

The alleged incident describes 11 people being .gunned down under a white flag. unless a mini gun or other superfast shooting weapon was used, or there were at least three or four shooters, far less than 11 people would've died.even if all people were close together, the moment someone opened fire, people would have been running in every direction. A few would've gotten away. Just spraying bullets is inaccurate.

Most tanks and armored personnel carriers now have cameras and overhead battlefield supervision drones present at the Battalion and sometimes company level so that officers can manage their soldiers. In addition throughout the Gaza war, Israel had large numbers of reconnaissance assets over the battlefield at all times.

For the HRW report to be true, the soldiers got lucky and were somehow not caught in the act on film or they were caught and the IDF is covering up. At least a handful of soldiers had to participate in order to cause the kind of casualties described or an officer gave the order.
It is hard for me to imagine the Army gave regular timeouts to the enemy to prevent civilian casualties and starvation turnaround and randomly gun down 11 people under the flag of truce.

Every IDF soldier knows that if they are caught doing something illegal, that the Army prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. IDF commander Ashkenazi has made more than he expected the highest level of moral behavior by his troops.

most damning is the statistical improbability of the incident: it is generally agreed that no more than 1500 people died in the cost of war, and that a sizable majority of the casualties were Hamas operatives. Over 30,000 Israeli soldiers were involved in the operation and if even 10 soldiers have taken it upon themselves to systematically kill 10 civilians each day, during the 24 days of the war, 2500 people died were 50% more casualties than were reported. While it is not inconceivable that an occasional individual went bad in Gaza, have any statistically significant number of Israelis participated in such misdeeds, the casualties would've been on an order of magnitude worse.
HRW report neglects to report what happened to the bodies of the victims. Unless soldiers who did the killing did the burial, another unit would have discovered the bodies and certainly air reconnaissance would've noticed 11 corpses in the dust.

when measured in comparison to the history of human warfare, Israel's actions in Gaza rank as one of the most humanely fought wars in human history. This flies in the face of HRW's complaint and any notion that Israel committed any form of systematic war crimes in 2006.

to the contrary these facts indicate that HRW's report is a hatchet job against Israel. Having taken money from Saudi benefactors, with the implied promise to use the proceeds to discredit Israel, HRW is fundamentally biased incapable of either accuracy or fairness. 2000 rockets landed in the Israeli territory from Gaza, HRW was completely silent. They expressed no outrage that Gilad Shalit HAS SPENT three years as an illegal captive. Their bias could not be more in display and clear. there is the smallest chance the report could be true, but the statistical evidence overwhelmingly suggests the likelihood the incident did not occur.

HRW relishes its role demonizing of Israel and is well-paid for its subjective morality and anti-Semitic work. Posing as military experts and substituting their judgment as to what is more is now malignantly grown into conspiring with Israel's enemies manufacture false words vilify the Jewish state and justify the murder Jews. This is a revolting development and the notion of universal human rights and utterly stood on its head by an organization which is supposed to stand for human rights.


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